The fingerprint-sharing program, central to the Obama administration's immigration enforcement strategy, has been met with more resistance.
Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts has decided the state will not participate in the program. It is said thar Mr. Patrick who does not wish to conflict with Mr. Obama, but wants him to rebuild the immigration laws to include legal status for illegal immigrants.
Massachusetts is now the third state to throw out the Secure Communities program. Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois cancelled and Gov. Andre M. Cuomo has suspended New York's participation last week, nytimes reports.
These three states have large numbers of immigrants populating them and are declining to cooperate with a program that immigration authorities say is mandatory.
The New York Times reports, In a June 3rd letter, the Massachusetts secretary of public safety and security, Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, said Mr. Patrick had concluded that he should not sign any agreement to join the program because it was not accomplishing its goal of deporting immigrants who were convicted of serious crimes. Ms. Heffernan also wrote that state law enforcement officials feared that the program was “overly broad and may deter the reporting of criminal activity.”
Heffernan is accusing the Immigration authorities of sending "conflicting messages" about how it would operate and the requirement of states to join.
“We are reluctant to participate if the program is mandatory and unwilling to participate if it is voluntary,” she wrote.
The program involves fingerprinting immigrants and citizens who are jailed and comparing them against the F.B.I criminal database and the Homeland Security database of immigration violations.
The number of illegal immigrants peaked at an estimated 11.9 million in 2008. About 11.2 million illegal immigrants were living in the United States in 2009 and 2010, a 2011 study showed, on the New York Times website.
A New York Times article on Immigration and Emigration says, Republicans and Democrats have agreed for years on the need for sweeping changes in the federal immigration laws. President George W. Bush for three years pushed for a bipartisan bill before giving up in 2007 after an outcry from voters opposed to any path to legal status for illegal aliens. For the next three years the issue had in effect been dormant, as both parties were wary of the divisive passions it can arouse.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has said the program must be operating nationwide by 2013.