In Massachusetts, Secure Communities will play a crucial role in the 2012 Senate election, a vital one for immigration enforcement proponents. Secure Communities, as outlined in a 2009 Congressional report, seeks to “identify criminal aliens through modernized information sharing between ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, prioritize enforcement actions to ensure apprehension and removal of dangerous criminal aliens and transform criminal alien enforcement processes and systems to achieve lasting results.”
In favor of Secure Communities is Senator Scott Brown, the Republican who won a special 2010 election and replaced immigration champion Edward M. Kennedy. In his September 14 letter to Governor Deval Patrick, who has consistently opposed the program, Brown urged “full and immediate participation.”
Brown’s letter continued:
“Recently, three tragic deaths at the hands of illegal immigrants in Brockton and Milford have highlighted the clear need to address this very serious problem….the perpetrators were in the country illegally and had amassed violent criminal histories.”
Brown’s likely opponent is Elizabeth Warren, a former Obama administration consumer advocate official and current Harvard Law School professor. Warren says Secure Communities poses “real questions” and goes on to predict that illegal immigrants might be afraid to approach law enforcement because it could lead to their mistreatment.
This is one of the oldest ploys used by pro-immigration advocates: when immigrants go to the police, only bad things can happen. But according to Center for Immigration Studies’ Jessica Vaughn in her May 24 Boston Globe op-ed, any fear immigrants may have of police is unwarranted.
Wrote Vaughn [Immigration and Secure Communities, by Jessica Vaughn and Mike Stopa, Boston Globe, May 24, 2011]:
“It [fear] is not based on experience but on the misleading portrayal of Secure Communities by its organized opponents who seem to believe that Massachusetts should remain a sanctuary for illegal immigrants. What they should be telling immigrants instead is that not a single innocent crime victim, not in Boston nor in the 41 other states where Secure Communities operates, has been deported after reporting a crime. It is longstanding ICE policy that victims and witnesses are not targets of immigration law enforcement.”
For immigration enforcement patriots, the Massachusetts seat is crucial. Most analysts predict that Republicans will gain the Senate majority in 2012. But a Brown defeat in still overwhelmingly Democratic Massachusetts would represent a significant setback.
A Warren victory, on the other hand, would give amnesty advocates and anti-Secure Communities foes another vote against the rule of law.