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Somerville immigrant advocacy group protests federal policy

Posted by Matt Byrne  May 15, 2012 10:04 AM

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A Somerville-based immigrant advocacy organization will join state Democratic party leaders Tuesday to assail a federal policy set to go into effect in Massachusetts that would notify federal authorities when a suspected illegal immigrant is arrested.

"Starting on May 15 we are going to denounce every case of the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records and denounce the violation of the basic human rights of undocumented immigrants in our state," said Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente, an advocacy group with headquarters on Inner Belt Road.
 
Centro Presente has protested the Secure Communities program, which starts Tuesday, and links local police arrest information to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement database, allowing federal officers to identify illegal immigrants arrested for crimes.

While local arrest and fingerprint information is already forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's national database, it has never been made available to immigration officials.

Governor Deval Patrick has condemned the program but has said he will not stand in the way of its implementation. Centro Presente and other immigrant advocacy groups say that Secure Communities is likely to ensnare law-abiding immigrants.

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