US immigration officials put the states on notice that the controversial Secure Communities law will be fully deployed nationwide by 2013 with more than 40 governors signing the memos to activate the program.
This law will identify illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds. It was launched by US immigration officials in 2008 after piloting it in Boston and 40 other states and enables law enforcement authorities to share fingerprints of suspects arrested by federal immigration officials in order to deport illegal immigrants who have a violent and dangerous past.
The law has sparked concern among police from areas with high immigrant population such as Boston saying that the program is deporting a lot of people who are not violent criminals. They say that they do not want to fight the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Democratic Governor Deval Patrick shared the same view, refused to sign the memo, and vowed to continue opposing the bill. His opposition to the bill has delayed the expansion of the law in Massachusetts for two years.
The supporters of the bill praised the efforts of the law to reduce the number of illegal immigrants who compete for jobs with the natives.