127 organizations ask Governor to say NO to "S-Comm"

Opposition to anti-immigrant dragnet is rising, following Illinois withdrawal from memorandum of agreement on the program, inquiries by members of Congress, and coming investigation by Department of Homeland Security's own inspector general.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Christopher Ott, Communications Director, 617-482-3170 x322, cott@aclum.org
Nancy Murray, Education Director, 617-482-3170 x314, nmurray@aclum.org

BOSTON -- One hundred twenty-seven organizations across the state have signed on to a letter addressed to Governor Deval Patrick that will be delivered by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts on May 27.

A variety of immigrant groups, civil rights and educational organizations, churches, trade unions, community and peace groups have come together to urge Governor Patrick to "be on the right side of history" and "to decline to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement to participate in a program that damages the social fabric of our Commonwealth and makes our communities more vulnerable and less safe."

Massachusetts is currently one of just eight states that have not signed onto the misleadingly named "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) program, and the Governor is under pressure from the federal government to act.

"The outpouring of organizational support for this letter shows how wide the opposition is to a flawed deportation program that is tearing apart families across the country and not fulfilling its stated mission of targeting violent criminals," said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "Is it really in the interests of the Commonwealth to damage the relations of trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities?"

Opposition to S-Comm is rising, with members of Congress asking probing questions about the program, the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General promising an investigation into it, and states pushing back at various levels of the political system.

Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois recently terminated his state's S-Comm Memorandum of Agreement on the grounds that the program was harming people who are not criminals. Nationally, as in Boston--the only jurisdiction in the state that currently implements S-Comm--a large majority of the people who have been deported have never been convicted of any crime or are low-level offenders.

"What is now needed is a careful and detailed study of the program and its operations. There is no political or legal reason to embrace S-Comm before the program is thoroughly examined and its impact understood," the letter states.

Read the letter to Governor Patrick about S-Comm (PDF)