Massachusetts won’t sign onto immigration check program

June 6, 2011 in Dream Act, Secure Communities

BOSTON (FOX 25 / – Gov. Deval Patrick made a major reversal today, saying he’s not signing up for a controversial program aimed at deporting illegal immigrants with serious criminal records.

Gov. Patrick’s public safety secretary made the announcement in a letter released today that was sent to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Friday.

 Secure Communities has been a political hot potato for Gov. Patrick since last fall, when FOX Undercover first revealed his administration had been dragging its feet for a year on the federal government’s request to bring it to Massachusetts. Patrick eventually decided to sign on, but reversed course yesterday.

“I think this is the right decision for the Commonwealth. From a public safety position we’ll continue to work with the FBI and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) for convicted felons who are undocumented people. But the Secure Communities program is not for us,” Patrick told reporters today.

Secure Communities links state and local police with US immigration authorities by automatically sharing fingerprints of arrestees with US immigration authorities. It’s supposed to identify and help deport illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

Patrick says he supports that goal, but says Secure Communities is leading to the deportation of immigrants who haven’t committed crimes, or who have committed minor offenses.

His refusing to sign is a reversal from his stance last December, when he promised to activate Secure Communities state-wide under pressure from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE.

“Governor, are you going easy on criminal aliens?” asked FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet.

“No we’re not,” replied Patrick. “We have consistently sent all fingerprints to the FBI. That’s a program and a practice that has gone on for some while now. Long before Secure Communities. And we have referred convicted felons to ICE for deportation and we will continue to do that.”

“Why the change since December?” asked Beaudet.

“The change since December is that the program is not mandatory,” Patrick replied.

The prospect of joining Secure Communities drew protests from immigrant advocates.

But now Patrick’s reversal is drawing fire.

“This is much more about politics than public policy,” said state Rep. Brad Jones, R-North Reading, the House Minority Leader. “And to the extent there were concerns about how the program was structured on the federal level, it seems to me based on the governor’s own representations, there’s probably nobody better to advocate with the administration about possible positive changes that need to be made to that program given the strong relationship that the governor trumpets with the president.”

Gov. Patrick’s decision has drawn cheers from immigrant advocates and the ACLU of Massachusetts, but Secure Communities may not be gone for good.

One of the governor’s top public safety official says the federal government can activate the program all on its own, and will do so by 2013.

ICE released a statement saying in part, “ICE regularly analyzes the effectiveness of its enforcement programs, as it is currently doing with Secure Communities. ICE looks forward to sharing the results of its analysis with the State of Massachusetts and to continuing to work with Massachusetts to ensure that those who are illegally in this country and have also committed a crime under state law are removed in order to protect the citizens and communities it serves.”

Boston’s police have used Secure Communities since 2006, and Gov. Patrick cited a large number of deportations of non-criminals because of that program as a reason for not joining. But Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the program is working and is not deporting non-criminals.

Illinois Legislature Passes Immigrant (Illegal) ‘Dream Act’

May 30, 2011 in Dream Act

(This Has To Be A Joke – Not Only that this was Done On Memorial Day)

Congratulations Illinois. You are now officially a sanctuary state.

Illinois Legislature Passes Immigrant ‘Dream Act’; Quinn Will Sign It

 TEN REPUBLICANS VOTED YES – CROSS, Beaubien, Brauer, Leitch, McAuliffe, Mulligan, Poe, Saviano, Senger, Winters, Nybo No Vote

Updated: Monday, 30 May 2011, 6:13 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 30 May 2011, 6:12 PM CDT

Associated Press

Springfield, Ill. – The children of immigrants, both legal and illegal, would be able to obtain private college scholarships and enroll in Illinois state savings programs under legislation approved Monday.

A 61-53 vote in the Illinois House sent the measure to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk because it already passed the state Senate. Quinn said in a statement that he looked forward to signing it.

Supporters praised the legislation as a much-needed way to offer financial help to undocumented immigrants who graduate from Illinois high schools and want to continue their studies in college but can’t afford it.

The Illinois Dream Act would create a panel to raise private money for college scholarships and let the children of immigrants join programs that help them invest money and save for college.

“These students deserve an opportunity. They work hard. We send them through grade school, we send them through high school, then we slam a door in their face and say `Oh well, all the hard work is for nothing. You can’t go to college,”‘ said state Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago.

To qualify for the college savings pool, students must have a Social Security number or taxpayer identification number. Scholarship recipients must have at least one immigrant parent and the student must have attended school in Illinois for at least three years.

Carla Navoa, a 22-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who is in the country illegally, lobbied for the bill because it will help others like her pay for college. She said she currently isn’t enrolled in college because of the financial stress on her family with a younger sister in college, too.

“Having access to this Dream Fund would really help us,” Navoa said.

Opponents have criticized the legislation as improper because it provides benefits that could help people who violate immigration laws. They also have complained it’s confusing because of proposed federal legislation by the same name that would give some illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.

The Illinois Dream Act has no impact on a person’s immigration status and it doesn’t offer a path to citizenship.

Congratulations Illinois. You are now officially a sanctuary state.