05/10/2012 05:15 pm ET

New Hampshire Participation In Secure Communities Takes Many By Surprise

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 Just months after implementing the program, New York state rescinded its agreement to participate, citing concerns for immigrant communities.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.


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