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- 05-11-2012, 12:16 PM #1
Police say Secure Communities won’t change their approach
Friday, May 11, 2012
Police say Secure Communities federal immigration policy won’t change their approach
By SIMON RIOS
NASHUA – The implementation of a federal immigration policy in New Hampshire has some activists saying it’s a step backwards in the effort towards a sound immigration policy.
“This is another tool to give ICE more power and to extend their web further than it is,” said Eva Castillo of the New Hampshire Alliance for Immigrants and Refugees.
Local police, however, say the Secure Communities policy won’t make much of a difference procedurally.
“Our policies won’t change at all,” said Capt. Bruce Hansen of the Nashua Police Department.
Secure Communities requires state and local police to file fingerprints into a federal database accessible to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Hansen said the department already sends prints to a federal database in Concord.
“When we arrest somebody, anybody, we will fingerprint them. As a part of that process, the fingerprints go to the state and to the (National Crime Information Center) database,” Hansen said. “From that point, ICE will have access to these prints through the state. They will be analyzed and through their analysis if they determine that the person is for some reason illegal or on a threat list, they’ll determine whether a detainer will be issued.”
Hansen said though ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, already had access to this data, Secure Communities gives them a direct pipeline.
NCIC and ICE officials were not available Thursday.
Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski echoed Hansen’s position.
“That’s essentially the policy we already had,” Bryfonski said.
Bryronski said by the department’s own policy, ICE is notified in the case of a suspected illegal alien.
The expansion of Secure Communities to the Granite State comes the same week the New Hampshire Senate passed a house bill expressing support for Arizona’s controversial immigration law (SB 1070). The two events signify a round of defeats for civil rights groups and immigrant advocates, who claim Secure Communities will lead to racial profiling.
Castillo called the addition of Secure Communities to New Hampshire appalling.
“It’s going to place (undocumented immigrants) in a harder situation,” Castillo said. “And it’s going to damage all of the relations we have with law enforcement, therefore making the community less secure.”
Castillo said that although ICE has been directed to focus deportation efforts on undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes, it’s not happening that way in New Hampshire.
“The White House is turning a blind eye to what’s happening,” she said. “Families are being destroyed by Secure Communities and children are being left without parents. They have taken no steps to protect people that are not criminal.”
ICE claims that Secure Communities will allow agents to identify and deport criminal aliens as well as repeat immigration offenders. Through October of this year more than 110,000 immigrants convicted of crimes – including more than 39,500 convicted of aggravated felony offenses like murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children – were deported through Secure Communities.
This contributed to an 89 percent increase in the percentage of convicted criminals removed by ICE, and a 29 percent reduction in the removal of people without a criminal conviction from October 2008 until the end of FY 2011, according to ICE’s website.
Unlike in Massachusetts where Gov. Deval Patrick raised strong opposition to the policy, Secure Communities raised little fanfare in New Hampshire. It launched on Tuesday in New Hampshire and will begin next week in the Bay State.
ICE plans for Secure Communities to be universal by 2013.
Capt. Hansen emphasized that undocumented immigrants should have no concerns in coming to the police department, with or without Secure Communities.
“In terms of the immigration status these people have, they’ve got no fear from the Nashua Police Department,” Hansen said. “We won’t investigate any immigration laws here. We don’t do that and this procedure doesn’t mandate us to do that.”
DON'T REWARD THE CRIMINAL ACTIONS OF MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS
BY GIVING THEM CITIZENSHIP