The federal Secure Communities program could be running in at least some parts of Massachusetts by the end of the year despite Gov. Patrick’s opposition to the program, one local sheriff says.
New attention is being focused on Secure Communities after the Aug. 20 death of Matthew Denise, who was hit and killed while riding his motorcycle. Police say Nicolas Guaman, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, was drunk and behind the wheel of a pick-up truck that hit him.
Gov. Patrick, who announced in June that the state would not sign onto Secure Communities program, defended the stance, saying it was a drunk driver that killed Denise, not “illegal immigration”.
That stance has been drawing criticism, including from FOX News channel’s Bill O’Reilly, who took to the national airwaves last week to bash Patrick.
“Who has blood on their hands?” O’Reilly asked.
The US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, is moving ahead in implementing Secure Communities in Massachusetts and around the country, and plans to have the program nationwide by the end of 2013.
But some in Massachusetts don’t want to wait that long.
A handful of sheriffs, including Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, have asked ICE to let them activate the program in their counties as soon as possible.
Evangelidis told FOX 25 today he’s hopeful to have the program by the end of the year.
“I had several conversations with immigration and ICE last week. They assured me they have full capacity to implement this program, so I anticipate as we go on and we have meetings with them over the next few weeks. We hope to get this implemented within the year and well in advance of the state of Massachusetts or what I expect will be the federal deadline of the end of 2013,” he said.