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Public Letter to Governor Patrick in response to his administration's intent to sign onto the Secure Communities Program of ICE

Public Letter to Governor Patrick in response to his administration's intent to sign onto the Secure Communities Program of ICE

22 December 2010

Governor Deval Patrick
Office of the Governor
Massachusetts State House
Room 280
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick:

On behalf of the immigrant communities with which we work and the allied churches and organizations that stand in solidarity with them, we respectfully demand that you publicly rescind your administration's stated intention to sign on to the Department of Homeland Security's poorly named "Secure Communities" program. As we do not believe that the many documented flaws in the program are "wrinkles to be ironed out," we strongly insist that you should not only NOT sign into the program but should be placing Massachusetts at the forefront of those States that are questioning this program for its destructive effect on community policing efforts, for its fundamental violation of the idea of due process for all under the law, for its dangerous implications for personal privacy of all U.S. citizens and residents and the documented increase of racial profiling and pretextual arrests that occurs whenever programs of this like are implemented.

In voting against the DREAM Act Arizona Senator Jon Kyl said, "Treating the symptoms of the problem might make us feel better . . . but it can allow the underlying problem to metastasize.'' In regards to inhumane immigration enforcement policies we couldn't agree more. According to ICE's own statistics in Boston over half of those deported under Secure Communities were non-criminals while under a quarter were convicted offenders of the worst level, who, according to ICE's promotion of the program, are the supposed targets. That is not an acceptable error rate, unless the stated targets are actually ALL undocumented immigrants. Separating families through deportation of non-criminals under the false guise of going after dangerous criminals is not treating symptoms but treating false symptoms with harsh "medicine." Massachusetts should be leading the nation in pushing the Federal government for an immigration reform that finally addresses the real causes of immigration not blindly jumping aboard dishonest and secretive programs that are prone to civil rights violations.

In closing we reiterate our demand that you do NOT sign Massachusetts onto Secure Communities and that you make a public statement retracting the announcement that was publicized last week. We feel that the damage to the trust of the immigrant community and its allies that this ill-conceived announcement has done predicates a renewed, transparent and honest dialogue with the immigrant community and the organizations that work with it, not professional locuteurs. We are willing to work with you and your staff in that endeavor.

Respectfully,

American Friends Service Committee-Project VOICE
American Civil Liberties Union of MA
ANSWER Coalition
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of MA
Brazilian Immigrant Center
Boston Interpreters Collective
Boston May Day Committee
Boston New Sanctuary Movement
Cambridge United for Justice with Peace
Centro Presente
Chinese Progressive Association (CPA)
CORES
Greater Boston United for Justice with Peace
Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative (IWCC)
Immigration Pastoral Center- Diocese Of Saint Francis of Assisi
Immigration Task Force of First Parish in Cambridge
Jobs With Justice - MA
Massachusetts Global Action
MassCOSH
Matahari - Eye of the Day
Metrowest Worker Center
Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE)
The Network/La Red
Somerville Community Corporation (SCC)
Student Immigrant Movement (SIM)
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
United for a Fair Economy
The Welcome Project