New York is among several States that have pledged to opt out of a Federal program that is designed to deport illegal immigrants with criminal backgrounds.
According to CNN, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that he is suspending the State’s participation in Secure Communities, an initiative in which law enforcement officials run the fingerprints of arrested individuals through a database to verify their citizenship status.
Cuomo suggested that the program, which was designed to help target and deport illegal immigrants who engage in criminal behavior, has had the opposite effect. He claims that the new system has deterred witnesses and other members of the community from working with law enforcement agencies due to fears that they might be deported themselves, according to the news provider.
The media outlet reported that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has voiced his opposition to Secure Communities, while Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has held public meetings to discuss the effectiveness of the program.
In California, the State Assembly recently approved legislation that would allow counties to opt out of the automatic fingerprint system, according to FOX News. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) said that if the bill is passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, illegal immigrants would be more likely to report crime, which would strengthen public safety.