The Department of Homeland Security is moving ahead with plans to institute the controversial Secure Communities program in the state of New Hampshire. But the news has come as a surprise to many -- including the state's Attorney General, Michael Delaney.
"I can't confirm anything about the program in New Hampshire right now," Delaney told The Eagle Tribune on Wednesday. "[Immigration and Customs Enforcement] did not give me or anyone at my office any notification about the program." Various local sheriffs and police chiefs had also not gotten word of the program's implementation in their state, according to The Eagle Tribute.
The controversial federal program, piloted by the Bush administration and implemented by the Obama Administration, is meant to crack down on undocumented immigrants living in the state by mandating that local authorities share fingerprints of those who have been arrested by local police with ICE. While the program started as a voluntary program which states could opt out of, it is now mandatory and will be implemented nationwide by 2013.
Critics say the program promotes racial profiling due to a flawed implementation, and some local leaders aren't thrilled about the program starting their states. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made his concerns public.
In a statement, Patrick said, "I'm persuaded that here in the commonwealth, we will give up more than we get. We run a serious risk of ethnic profiling and frankly fracturing incredibly important relationships in communities that are necessary for law enforcement."
While Connecticut and Rhode Island participate in the program, New York attempted to opt out when the Obama administration allowed states to do so. Just months after implementing the program, New York state rescinded its agreement to participate, citing concerns for immigrant communities.
"There are concerns about the implementation of the program as well as its impact on families, immigrant communities and law enforcement in New York," Cuomo wrote in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security. "As a result, New York is suspending its participation in the program."
But New Hampshire Governor John Lynch doesn't take issue with the program. A spokesperson for the Governor, Colin Manning, told The Eagle-Tribune that, "New Hampshire routinely shares data with the federal government."
"It's the federal government's decision," he said.
READ MORE ABOUT 10 OF THE MOST PIVOTAL U.S. IMMIGRATION LAWS BELOW:
The Naturalization Act of 1790 was our country's first set of laws dealing with citizenship. Applicants had to be "a free white person" of "good moral character." This excluded indentured servants and slaves. Good moral character was substantiated by establishing residence for at least one year in the state from where he was applying, and at least two years of residence in the country. The Naturalization Act of 1795 would extend that requirement to five years, and is still standard today.
A Reconstruction Amendment that was added to the U.S. Constitution following the Civil War, the Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment establishes for the first time that children born on U.S. soil would be conferred U.S. citizenship regardless of their parent's citizenship status, race, or place of birth. Last year, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) introduced the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 to Congress, and challenged this. The bill would require that at least one parent be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident for a child to be granted citizenship. According to the bill's text, the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, and "clarify those classes of individuals born in the United States who are nationals and citizens of the United States at birth." Prior to this, Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) introduced a similar bill in 2009.
The Naturalization Act of 1870 explicitly extended naturalization laws to "aliens of African nativity and persons of African descent." This meant that for the first time, African-American children would be conferred citizenship upon birth. Asian immigrants and other people of color are excluded per the Naturalization Acts of 1790 and 1795.
Named after Republican Representative Horace F. Page, this is the first U.S. federal immigration law to explicitly prohibit the immigration of a particular group: persons of Asian descent. Primarily meant to limit Chinese immigrant labor and prostitution, the Page Act prohibited the immigration of: (1) contracted labor from "China, Japan, or any Oriental country" that was not "free and voluntary," (2) Chinese prostitution and (3) criminals and women who would engage in prostitution. Ultimately, the Page Act severely restricted the immigration of Asian women. Only 136 of the the nearly 40,000 Chinese immigrants who arrived in the months before the bill's enforcement were women. And, it would pave the way for the Chinese Exclusion Act. In this picture, Michael Lin, chair of the 1882 Project, a coalition of rights groups seeking a statement of regret over that year's Chinese Exclusion Act, speaks on May 26, 2011 in Washington, DC, at the US House of Representatives in front of a reproduction of a 19th-century sign that aimed at rousing up sentiment against Chinese Americans. Lawmakers introduced a bill that would offer an official statement of regret for the act, which banned further immigration of Chinese to the United States and ended citizenship rights for ethnic Chinese. (AFP PHOTO/SHAUN TANDON).
Signed by President Chester A. Arthur, the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first federal immigration law to prohibit immigration on the basis of race. The bill barred all Chinese laborers, skilled and unskilled, from immigrating to the U.S. for ten years. It was made permanent by 1903, and was not lifted until the 1943 Magnuson Act. The 1898 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Wong Kim Ark finally extended naturalization laws to persons of Chinese descent by ruling that anyone born in the United States was indeed a U.S. citizen. This editorial cartoon from 1882 shows a Chinese man being excluded from entry to the "Golden Gate of Liberty." The sign next to the iron door reads, "Notice--Communist, Nihilist, Socialist, Fenian & Hoodlum welcome. But no admittance to Chinamen." At the bottom, the caption reads, "THE ONLY ONE BARRED OUT. Enlightened American Statesman--'We must draw the line somewhere, you know.'" (Image Source: Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, vol. 54 (1882 April 1), p. 96. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).
The Naturalization Act of 1906 further defined the naturalization process: the ability to speak English was made a requisite for immigrants to adjust their status.
U.S. President Coolidge signed this U.S. federal bill into law. It capped the number of immigrants who could be admitted entry to the U.S. and barred immigration of persons who were not eligible for naturalization. And, as the Naturalization Act of 1790 required, an immigrant had to be white in order to naturalize. The quotas varied by country. Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons, NYCMarines.
The McCarran-Walter Act kept up the controversial Immigration Act of 1924, but formally ended Asian exclusion.
When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, it abolished the quota system that favored immigration from Europe and limited immigration from Asia and South America.
The 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) is a piece of legislation that defined an array of issues to do with legal and illegal immigration -- from outlining how border patrol agents should administer visa processing, to the minutiae of how to handle deportation proceedings -- IIRIRA established enforcement and patrolling practices.