By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick has decided Massachusetts won’t participate in a federal program that checks the immigration status of people who are arrested.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan said Patrick won’t sign any memorandum of understanding for the state to join the federal Secure Communities program. Patrick had previously said he believed the state might have no choice but to participate in the program.

In the letter, Heffernan said that while Patrick believes that serious criminals who are in the country illegally should be deported, he does not believe that the Secure Communities program accomplishes that objective.

Heffernan cited statistics from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office that she said shows only about one in four of those deported since the start of Boston’s pilot participation in the program were convicted of a serious crime. More than half of those deported were identified as “non-criminal,” she said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

“The governor and I are dubious of the commonwealth taking on the federal role of immigration enforcement,” Heffernan wrote in the letter dated Friday and released by the administration Monday. “We are even more skeptical of the potential impact that Secure Communities could have on the residents of the Commonwealth.”

Defenders of the program say it only targets immigrants arrested for committing violent crimes and is not an effort to enforce federal immigration laws.

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Heffernan said some law enforcement officials have said they fear the program is too broad and could deter the reporting of crime. Domestic violence advocates have also said they are worried the program could discourage victims from going to police.

“We are reluctant to participate if the program is mandatory and unwilling to participate if it is voluntary,” she wrote. The program has been contentious in Massachusetts and other states.

Immigrant advocacy groups had urged Patrick not to sign onto the program, saying it could discourage immigrants from reporting crimes while encouraging police to practice racial profiling. Massachusetts isn’t alone in opting out. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has suspended that state’s participation in the program. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has also said Illinois won’t participate. And California is weighing legislation that would let individual communities opt out.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (25)
  1. Taxachusetts says:

    Let’s not sign a bill to help enforce the laws against illegal freeloaders….but let’s get that quahog bill passed. Are you guys on the hill kidding?

  2. D T says:

    If we sign on to check if they are here illegally, we might might have to stop allowing them to come to Mass for free medical care while my elderly parents who are below the poverty level saw their health care premiums soar from 20/mo to over a hundred, each!! Oh and they might not be able to get a free college education while my son who was recently laid off from his job along with his wife, 2 brothers and my husband from Evergreen Solar is saddled with a $97k student loan bill.
    I am not surprised. They all need to be sent packing!!!

  3. blackbear1 says:

    There is just not going to be any stemming of this illegal immigrant flow is there? We are simply not going to be allowed to protect our borders!! Why is there no responsible action in this area?? We are getting swamped, overrun, having our culture eroded and many still think we should continue on this path to completely losing our heritage. Why and how did we get to this place?? Please do not tell me that we are a “nation of immigrants” That has long gone by the boards.

  4. maria says:

    Agree with previous comments. What is going on in this state and country? Pretty soon all of us who have worked our entire life will not be able to afford to live anywhere in this country. My husband and are retired and live on our retirement. Between health premiums, co-pays, food and gas there isn’t much left at the end of the month. Do you think that maybe if we move to another country, they will take care of us? Yuh, right!

  5. Brooklyn says:

    Too bad the Dems. ran Cahill for gov.,but you have to admitt they know how to STEAL the votes and win an election. Cahill willing sacraficed himself so that idiot Coup Devill would win.

  6. massbaysailor says:

    Deval won with 49% of the vote and less than 50% voter turnout….so where were the 79% of MA residents who are now “outraged” with his current action on election day….this is text book case to get out and vote!
    MA is 100% Democratic controled in Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of goverment….and until this changes, Deval and his cronies will ride the residents of MA bareback to “their” happy ending…hold on to your hats because I bet in-state tuition for illegals is next for our sad sack state….

  7. Paul says:

    Let us understand this. “Only” 25% have a “serious” criminal record and more than half who were deported were listed as “non-criminal”. So what you are saying is that if 25% of the population committed a serious crime…THAT would fall into an acceptable range? AND people who are here in this country ILLEAGALLY….somehow is not a crime? Hey Capitol Hill….can you please give us a list of what is and ia not a crime… appears as though there are two lists floating around.

  8. Linda says:

    I believe all the countries these illegals come from should be paying the US and the tax payers for letting them stay here. Our Country is becoming a 3rd world country and we are losing everything our great nation stands for. America does not stand for “everybody come here and freeload off us”, nor does it stand for “come bring your gangs, drugs cartels, terrorists and ruin our Country”. When illegals are “entitled” to more than the American people, something is very wrong with our goverment.

  9. justsayin' says:

    Thank you again for the fine job you are *not* doing Mr. Patrick. I want to thank you for letting illegals in. It is so very nice of you.

  10. J.C.A. says:

    Without the illegal immigrants, the Dems would lose half there demographic. Just ask the dumb woman who recently got caught in Lawrence (New Santo Domingo)with names S.S. #’s and DOB’s in her purse…and claimed to work for the IRS!
    Illegal licenses and voter registration, along with WIC,Heat Assistance,Section8 Housing and health care…not to mention MAYBE a FREE ride to college in the future are the end result of this information she was carrying.
    Politics…Poly, meaning MANY. Tics… being blood sucking leeches. The vicious circle of Ma. politics.DOPES! Freud described the act of doing the same thing over and over…and expecting a different result as CRAZY! Voters…see yourself yet?

  11. J.C.A. says:

    Paul, you are correct SIR! If they are here “illegally” they ARE criminals,and should be treated as such. Violent or not, it IS a FEDERAL crime to be in the U.S. illegally.

  12. Deus-est says:

    CHEAP LABOR? Isn’t that what the whole immigration issue is about?

    Business doesn’t want to pay a decent wage.

    Consumers don’t want expensive produce.

    Government will tell you Americans don’t want the jobs.

    But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase “cheap labor” is a myth, a farce, and a lie. There is no such thing as “cheap labor.”

    Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or 6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an “earned income credit” of up to $3,200 free.

    He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent ..
    He qualifies for food stamps..
    He qualifies for free (no deductible), no co-pay) health care.
    His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school.
    He requires bilingual teachers and books.
    He qualifies for relief from high energy bills…
    If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at (our) taxpayer’s expense .
    He doesn’t worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.
    Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.
    He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
    Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills AND his.
    The American taxpayers also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.

    Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people!

  13. emom says:

    Allowing illegal’s has been going on since the BUSH administration, SENIOR that is, and Junior continued that… So many politicians have let more and more JUST walk on by, and then when They apply for assistance BEACON HILL HANDS IT OUT LIKE PABLEM. I am sick of the drooling of the powers to be, telling us we DON’T have an illegal issue here,,, We are not Like Arizona .. We have no foreign borders to worry about… AH ARE YOU REALLY BELIEVING THAT TUBE OF BUTT CREAM. REALLY,, politicians are indeed like a dirty diaper,, and YES they are so full of what’s in them.
    We can see more and more NEW faces that come into our towns… then we hear they are here visiting, then they have a WORK VISA, then they are here FOREVER. Their employer in ALMOST ALL CASES , Pays to continue their work visa’s. They are not cheap either. They cost thousands,,, OH WAIT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO GET WORK VISA’S FOR ILLEGALS TO DO JOBS AMERICANS CAN DO IF THEY WERE OFFERED SUCH A JOB….. Start looking around at different places, have you noticed something different. I have, Hospitals , nursing homes, or other healthcare facility or care places,,, look who’s working there, Foreigners, with work visa’s and many have only been in this country a very short time. I wouldn’t mind But when we have so many out of work looking for working struggling to survive, feed their family and KEEP A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS,,, I find it extremely discouraging to hear that someone who SUPPOSIDLY is looking out for the wealth fare and economy of his state just looks away and does not care. This is a crime against those that work ever so hard to pay into a tax system that obviously is so broke, out of control and corrupt. He ( WHO BY THE WAY SHALL BE NAMELESS) DOES NOT MIND to cut, cut and take away services vital to the people of this state, RAISE and CREATE frivolous TAXES, and tell the people of this completely BROKEN state what we can AND can not do with our own lives and family. It seems we are merely CHILDREN in a very large kindergarten rooms and must follow what Mr. Patrick tells us to do.. YES MR PATRICK , and if we do not follow the rules we get punished and have things taken away and on top of that we then must pay a penalty price…….
    At the same time ILLEGALS. Just walk on by and smile and laugh at us and speak of how stupid us Americans are cause they get what we can only DREAM OF. Yeah in another 10 years we will be the minorities looking for more than a hand out, we will be begging Just like OLIVER TWIST , but we will not get a single morsel, only a bucket of dirty water to clean up with… ISNT LIFE JUST MARVOULOUS.

    1. Lori says:

      Thank you for that enlightening post. Most of the time I do not agree with you but there have been a few times (and now is one of them) where I think you are spot on. I could not have said it better myself.

  14. Karen says:

    Well of course he won’t participate in the program. After all his buddy’s Aunt was here illegally and the state kept handing her all the freebies available. Patrick knows which side the toast is buttered on.

  15. Matt says:

    Deval and most of the politicians are missing the bigger picture here. For this bill, like many others it does not matter what they think. It only matters what we think. They are there to speak on our behalf and the people of Mass have said for a long time that they want this. So therefore they have to support it whether they like it or not. It is time to get rid of our elected politicians who do not enforce our will and stop letting them enforce their will on us.

  16. decol says:

    I hope all you people that voted for this TWIT are happy!!!!!! Lets just keep paying our money to keep illegals here and able to commit crimes without punishment–This guy is a JOKE!

  17. fred says:

    The next victim of a crime by an illegal alien who had been previuosly arrested but not sent to ICE should be able to hold Deval civily accountable for all damages. If a cop were to let an American citizen with an expired license go after a traffic stop and that person then caused an accident that injured or killed someone that officer and city or town would be held liable. Why can’t we hold law enforcement and the Governor liable for the release of crimminal illegal aliens for all future crimes they commit – why aren’t the personal injury lawyers all over this?

    1. Paul says:

      I am not positive of this…there must be lawyers out there….but you cannot hold Judges, Senators, Congressmen, and representatives (the Governor) for actions that they do in the legal course of their jobs. For example, if a Judge lets a rapist go with a slap on the wrist, and he rapes someone later that day…you cannot hold the Judge liable. HOWEVER, if the illegal alien is not handed over to ICE….that is within the scope of their job….but unfortunately, not an individual responsibility.

      The rationale listed in the article is that a battered “spouse” will not come forward to tell the Police that she was assaulted, because s/he or the batterer may be illegally in the country. Don’t Police officers, when they pull over a speeder, check for a valid license, registration, inspection et al? And if there is no license,,,,they will not allow him back on the road. Well, if the person is found to be illegal….you don’t let him back in the country. I really don’t see the difference. They BOTH broke the law. Why is one ignored?

  18. J.C.A. says:

    Gitmo style “boot camp” right outside of Logan Airport.
    Can’t prove you’re a citizen…here LEGALLY, there’s a bunk.
    Next flight to your “home land”…you’re on it. Maybe a few more with you…but on your way home!.

    I’d be willing to give my tax dollars for that, AND a “Chaperone” to make sure they get off the plane, and go through Immigration.
    Why not? It costs a whole lot more to send criminals back to their home country than it does to incarcerate them.
    ICE, ICE, Baby!

  19. J.C.A. says:

    Sorry…There should have been a ? after the 2nd to the last thought…and mid thought.
    “Why not? It costs a whole lot less to send criminals back to their home country than it does to incarcerate them? (Mea Culpa) JCA

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