A Death In Massachusetts

Earlier this year, there were town hall meetings in various locations around Massachusetts to discuss the Secure Communities law, which the state had the option of putting into effect. Basically the law was simple–if someone was arrested for a crime, the police would check their immigration status. In early June, I reported that Governor Patrick had decided to opt out of the program.

Today Boston.com reported a story that can be considered the result of that decision. On Saturday, Milford Massachusetts resident Matthew Denice, 23, was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a truck driven by Nicolas Guaman and dragged a quarter of a mile. The charges against Guarman include vehicular homicide while under the influence, failure to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and reckless conduct creating risk to a child.

The article reports:

The arrest of Guaman and reports that he previously faced criminal charges raised concern about why he had not already been reported to immigration authorities, and highlighted the ongoing debate over a federal initiative to identify illegal immigrants.

Milford police arrested Guaman in 2008 on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and at least one public employee and of breaking and entering, according to the police and the Worcester district attorney’s office. The case was continued without a finding for one year. Police said he also faced a few minor traffic charges dating to 2007, but the district attorney’s office could not confirm that information.

Under the Secure Communities program, Mr. Guaman’s status as an illegal alien would have been determined after his first arrest and he might have been deported. Matthew Denice would still be alive. I think it’s time to rethink whether Massachusetts should take part in the Secure Communities program.

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