Photo: Gov. David A. Paterson
As part of a pact with the federal government, and in an attempt to appease opponents of a program used to identify undocumented immigrants, New York Gov. David A. Paterson says he has reached an agreement with the federal government that makes an attempt at protecting undocumented without criminal records.
Though unlikely to assuage the critics of the program, the agreement Paterson has made with the federal government states that immigration officials will focus on deportable unauthorized immigrants they deem a threat to public safety and national security, and includes those convicted of crimes or those who have illegally re-entered the U.S. after being deported.
The federal program at the heart of all of this is called Secure Communities. The program has the fingerprints of everyone booked into local or county jail sent to the Department of Homeland Security and the prints are compared with those in the agency’s databases. If it is discovered that someone is in the country illegally, or is a non-citizen with a criminal record, deportation is sought.
Under Secure Communities, it is likely that a number of undocumented immigrants without criminal records or a strike against them will get caught up in the process and be deported.
Even with this pact Gov. Paterson has penned and now signed, immigrant advocates and civil rights groups see the situation as a missed opportunity for the state of New York to stop the “ramping up [of] deportations of immigrants who are only the victims of [a] dysfunctional immigration system.”