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The Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, has had it with the Secure Communities program. Over the weekend, the New York Times examined the relationship between Boston official and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The Mayor doesn’t want to participate. DHS says the program is mandatory. In Boston, local leaders who know the program do not believe in it:
Boston’s police commissioner, Edward Davis, had been a Secure Communities supporter, because his records showed that it had removed many violent criminal immigrants from Boston jails. But he concluded from the new figures that immigration officials had misled him.
“They specifically told us they would not be removing people with traffic offenses,” Mr. Davis said. “They said they wouldn’t and now they have.”
Mr. Davis said he was taken aback by the indifference of immigration officials to his questions. “This is a throwback to the bad old days of the federal agencies before 9/11, when we did not have cooperation,” he said. “It is really disconcerting that they are not at all concerned about our precarious situation with immigrant communities.”
The New York Times notes “Obama administration officials vigorously defend Secure Communities.” In fact, that’s true. The Obama administration is ignoring the impact the program is having on immigrant communities across the country, and they’re doubling down by making it mandatory — in the face of the intense criticism the program has received from Menino, his police commissioner, his state’s Governor, Deval Patrick, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. All three Governors opted out of Secured Communities, yet their concerns were overruled by the Obama administration.
Activists made their opposition to Secure Communities abundantly clear last week at the DHS Task Force meeting in Dallas. Today, in Los Angeles, we can expect an even louder protest. At 11 AM PT, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) will be holding a press conference, “with testimonies on impact of ‘S-Comm’ on California’s multicultural communities and a call to end the faulty, dangerous, and out of control program.” CHIRLA will be joined by a broad coaltion of advocates and religious leaders. Last week, an editorial in the Los Angeles Times, titled, Shelve Secured Communities, blasted the program, concluding:
The president has publicly called for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system to give those who work hard but are illegally in the country a chance to remain here legally. Yet his administration has failed to curb a program that deports many of the very people he says deserve a chance to stay.
The president’s leadership on immigration has been anemic. He can’t solve the problem alone, but he has done little beyond delivering speeches blaming Congress. At the very least, Obama should shelve Secure Communities and stop making matters worse.