Thursday, August 25, 2011

Republican Lawmakers to Offer Secure Communities Legislation and Resolution

Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica) along with Assistant Minority Whip Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro), Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) today announced their intention to file legislation and a resolution relative to the Secure Communities program.

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that the Patrick Administration join the Secure Communities program,” said Representative Poirier. “It is the responsibility of us as legislators to protect the safety and well-being of the residents of the Commonwealth. The time is now that legislators and citizens rise up and demand that the safety of the legal residents of Massachusetts is paramount.”

The proposed legislation and resolution are the legislators’ response to the arrest and arraignment of an illegal immigrant for vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol. The defendant was in the country illegally and had multiple convictions for motor vehicle violations.

"It’s tragic to see the loss of a life which could have been prevented had the Patrick Administration entered into the Secure Communities program years ago,” said Representative Lombardo. “How many more people have to die before this administration will take action to secure our state?"

The resolution that will be filed states the following: that Governor Deval Patrick reconsider his position on the Secure Communities program and sign a memorandum of agreement allowing the Commonwealth to participate in the program.

“Protecting the guilty and risking harm to the innocent doesn’t make sense. We need to act immediately to reverse this illogical policy, which does nothing but weaken public safety in the Commonwealth and put every citizen at risk,” said Senator Bruce Tarr. “We ought to be giving the people who are charged with protecting us the proper tools, and we are calling on Governor Patrick to do just that by partnering with the Obama Administration and joining the Secure Communities program.”

In addition to proposing a resolution to be offered in the House, the group of lawmakers will be filing legislation to require Governor Patrick to designate a state-run agency that will enter into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to implement Secure Communities here in the Commonwealth.

"It is clear that if Secure Communities was law when a criminal like Nicolas Guaman was first arrested four years ago, and subsequently multiple times thereafter, he could have, and should have, been deported due to his illegal immigration status," said Representative Fattman. "My heart breaks for the family and friends of the recent tragedy in Milford. We, as legislators, must realize that this isn't the first tragedy like this, and it won't be the last, unless we act. It's time to do whatever needs to be done to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again."

It is the hope of the legislators that their effort to protect public safety will garner additional support.