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Despite Opposition, Immigration Agency to Expand Fingerprint Program

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Published: May 11, 2012

ICEObama administration officials have announced that a contentious fingerprinting program to identify illegal immigrants will be extended across Massachusetts and New York next week, expanding federal enforcement efforts despite opposition from the governors and immigrant groups in those states.

In blunt e-mails sent Tuesday to officials and the police in the two states, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said the program, Secure Communities, would be activated “in all remaining jurisdictions” this Tuesday.

Last June, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts declined to sign an agreement with the immigration agency to expand Secure Communities beyond a pilot program in the Boston area since 2006. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said he wanted to suspend the program, which had already been initiated in a number of counties.

Opponents argued that it was an overly wide dragnet that was deporting many illegal immigrants with no criminal histories who were arrested for minor offenses and that it encouraged racial profiling and eroded trust in law enforcement among immigrants.

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