WAMC News, North Country News
5:39 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Federal Immigration Program Criticized

The Department of Homeland Security implemented its Secure Communities Program in Vermont on Tuesday.

The federal program works with states to identify immigrants charged with crimes.  Officials from the federal agency are not doing radio interviews, but provided a statement which says: “Secure Communities has proven to be the single most valuable tool in allowing the agency to eliminate the ad hoc approach of the past and focus on criminal aliens and repeat immigration law violators.” Advocates in Vermont and across the country have roundly criticized the program. ACLU of Vermont Executive Director Alan Gilbert says the key problem is that it attempts to engage states in what should be federal enforcement.

Migrant Justice held a rally in front of the Vermont campaign headquarters of President Barack Obama on Tuesday after the program was initiated in the state.  Migrant Justice Organizer Brendan O’Neill says Secure Communities at one time was an optional program that Vermont is now being forced to participate in.

Danilo Lopez has worked on a dairy farm in Vermont. He says all Secure Communities does is criminalize individuals and deport innocent people.

Lopez is also concerned that the program’s increased deportations could negatively impact Vermont’s farms.

Brendan O’Neill of Migrant Justice provided the Spanish translations.  Secure Communities was implemented in Massachusetts earlier this month.