TAUNTON…Today, State Representative Shaunna O’Connell, 3rd Bristol House District, expressed deep disappointment in Governor Patrick’s decision not to sign onto the federal secure communities program.
“This is an Obama administration program that has been implemented in 41 other states, and yet our Governor thinks it is not a good idea. I am deeply disappointed that Governor Patrick is not willing to put public safety first,” said O’Connell. “The public hearings held by the Patrick administration,which were heavily stacked in favor of illegal immigrants, proved to be a nothing more than an attempt to delay implementation of the program.”
Secure Communities is a federal program designed by the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security. The program identifies all deportable foreign nationals who are arrested by local police for other state and federal crimes. The criminal illegal immigrants who commit additional crimes are removed from the country instead of being released back into the community.
“Right now we have 24,000 criminal illegal immigrants at-large in Massachusetts. These are people who not only broke our laws crossing the borders, but they are also committing other serious crimes. The Obama administration’s Secure Communities program allows for our local law enforcement to help identify deportable aliens via fingerprinting. This is not something new for the Commonwealth. Our state troopers were helping during the previous administration, and due to Governor Patrick’s support of illegal immigrants, he overturned the public safety measure,” said O’Connell.
Boston already has a pilot program which has resulted in 293 people being taken off the streets. Boston’s Police Chief Ed Davis has said that everyone identified via SC was a public threat.
“This program has bipartisan support. It is time for the Governor to put the interests and safety of our law-abiding citizens first,” added O’Connell.
O’Connell is a lifelong resident of Taunton. She worked her way through college by serving in the food department at Morton Hospital and quickly becoming a department supervisor. Professionally, O’Connell is a self-employed court reporter. She is a devoted wife and mother of two young children and continues to be active in her church and volunteer for numerous community programs.