CHICOPEE, Mass (WWLP) – It’s been exactly 2 years since Massachusetts began enforcing the deportation program “Secure Communities,” but immigrants say people are being illegally detained and then deported.
“Secure Communities” allows law enforcement agencies to share information on immigrants who may pose a public threat, and detain them. According to the Massachusetts Trust Act Coalition, nearly 1,000 immigrants have been deported from the state, and half of them had no criminal convictions.
Patricia Montez, an advocate with Centro Presente, told 22News, “People are living with fear. They don’t want to report crimes to the police because they are afraid and these programs are separating immigrant families, it’s very unfair.
Immigrants rallied at the State House to support the “Massachusetts Trust Act,” which would make it illegal to detain a person with no criminal convictions and no proof of being a public threat.
Activists blame the program for a rift between immigrants and law enforcement, and hope that lawmakers pass the bill so they can rebuild their trust in the state.