Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, a strong critic of using police to enforce immigration laws, is defending the city's participation in a controversial federal program called Secure Communities that automatically checks the immigration status of everyone arrested, says the Boston Globe. Advocates warn that noncriminals are being swept up. Davis reviewed the list of people caught through the program over the past two years and determined that all of those turned over to immigration officials met the goal of removing gang members and other criminals from the streets.
“We've looked into each and every one of the cases, and we're satisfied that the promise we made to the community still stands,'' said Davis yesterday in his first interview on the matter. “We've made clear that if ICE begins to deport people who are simply being picked up for traffic violations and overstaying their visas, then we're not going to participate in the program.'' Many advocates for immigrants say the program will deter immigrants from reporting crimes because they fear police. “How can the Boston police say that this is going to give us more security?'' said Patricia Montes of Centro Presente, an area nonprofit. “People are going to be afraid to report crimes. That means that crime will be occurring, and immigrants will be afraid to go to the police.''