The death of a Milford man, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant, is sparking a call for change, and now a top official in Worcester County is pointing the finger at Governor Patrick.
Sheriff Lew Evangelidis announced today that Worcester County has officially requested to join the Secure Communities program, even though the state as a whole opted out it.
The program shares the fingerprints of people arrested by police with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in hopes of getting dangerous illegal immigrants off the streets.
The sheriff says the program may have prevented the death of 23-year-old Matthew Denice in a drunk driving crash last weekend, a crash allegedly caused by illegal immigrant Nicolas Guaman, who has a lengthy criminal record.
“I believe the governor by not joining this today is not putting the safety of the citizens of Massachusetts first,” said Sheriff Evangelidis. “He's failed to join more than 40 other states who have already joined Secure Communities. He's made us a national safe haven, for criminal aliens.”
The governor responded to the growing chorus of critics, saying, “Illegal immigration didn't kill this person. A drunk driver killed this person and we have laws about that, and I expect the book to be thrown at this person.”
Critics of the Secure Communities program say it terrorizes an already suspicious immigrant community.
ICE has also received requests to activate Secure Communities from the Bristol and Plymouth County sheriffs as well as the Franklin police.
It's important to point out that ICE is no longer asking or requiring states to sign onto Secure Communities.
It plans to roll out the program all over the country, including Massachusetts by 2013, like it or not.