By Senator Scott Brown
I always have supported legal immigration. I believe the arrival of new people to our shores has strengthened us as a country. But we are also a nation of laws and even as we say yes to legal immigration, we must take steps to end illegal immigration.
Illegal immigration erodes respect for the law and it compromises our ability to maintain secure borders. One of the ways we can address the problem of illegal immigration is through programs like Secure Communities.
Over the last year, our state has experienced a series of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants who had no business being in the country in the first place. Last summer, three tragic deaths in Brockton and Milford highlighted the clear need to identify and deport people who come here illegally and then commit new crimes. In Brockton, a woman and her child were murdered.
In Milford, a man was killed by a drunken driver. In both cases, the perpetrators were in the country illegally and had previous run-ins with the law. If these individuals had been deported following their previous arrests, it's possible the lives of three people could have been saved.
As a state, we need to make every effort to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. That is why I support Secure Communities, and believe that Massachusetts needs to be fully participating in this very important program.
better information sharing of arrest records and immigration status between local and federal authorities. It would give local law enforcement the ability to immediately verify the immigration status of individuals who have been arrested and hold them until federal authorities intervene to begin deportation proceedings.
This week, I spent time with Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson, visiting their prison facilities, hearing their concerns and learning what tools they need from the federal government to do their jobs and keep the public safe. They both told me that Secure Communities would instantaneously improve public safety, and better enable them to keep violent criminal offenders behind bars.
As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I have worked closely on immigration issues at the federal level. On multiple occasions, I have asked President Obama's Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, for her opinion on the program and she said, "We really need Secure Communities." My likely opponent in November, Elizabeth Warren, has a different view. She opposes Secure Communities. She also opposes a border fence, and supports in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
This is not fair to the millions of legal immigrants who are waiting patiently to come into the country, and it is not fair to Massachusetts taxpayers. In my view, the way to end illegal immigration is by securing the border, shutting off the magnets like instate tuition and drivers licenses and implementing programs like Secure Communities. Illegal immigration undermines legal immigration, and we must work to reform the system, but in the meantime, we need to keep these dangerous criminals off the street and prevent tragedies like we experienced in Brockton and Milford from ever happening again. Secure Communities is an important tool for sheriffs and law-enforcement officials across Massachusetts.