The Massachusetts state police will join a controversial federal program to help the U.S. government detect and deport illegal immigrants arrested for crimes, a sharp departure from Gov. Deval Patrick's 2007 decision barring troopers from enforcing immigration laws, reports the Boston Globe. State officials decided to join Boston and scores of other communities in the federal program because its main focus is on detaining and deporting murderers, rapists, and other high-level criminals and because Patrick has supported using immigration laws to help deal with such offenders.
They also said the Obama administration forced their decision because the program, known as Secure Communities, will become mandatory nationwide by 2013. “It has always been the governor's policy that serious criminals who were in the country illegally ought to be deported,'' said John Grossman, an undersecretary at the state's Executive Office of Public Safety. The federal government “is rolling this out with or without us,'' Grossman said. Patrick faced heated criticism during his reelection campaign that he was stalling the Secure Communities program and putting communities at risk.