Chelsea Urges Patrick to Reject "Secure Communities"

4/28/11, CHELSEA, MA — On April 28 at 6:00 PM at Chelsea High School, the Patrick Administration will hold the only Boston-area meeting to discuss the implementation of the harmful immigration enforcement program Secure Communities (S-Comm). This program, which is not mandated by any law, would send the fingerprints of anyone arrested by local law enforcement to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Though the program has been piloted secretly in the City of Boston since 2006, Governor Patrick has indicated that he will not enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the federal government on S-Comm for statewide implementation until he has concluded a series of community meetings across Massachusetts, of which Chelsea is the fifth. At each of these, immigrants and their advocates have strongly opposed the program on numerous grounds.

“S-Comm has been touted by ICE as a way to deport ‘violent and dangerous illegal immigrants’ from the United States,” stated Chelsea Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega. “But the Boston pilot program has proved that over 54% of the people being deported are non-criminals – this program is not working and we should not expand it across Massachusetts.” The collateral damages to the community are devastating.

“Chelsea is a community that works because we have built trust together,” said Chelsea Chief of Police, Brian A. Kyes. “S-Comm has proven to create mistrust of local police, discouraged people from reporting crime, and made everyone more vulnerable to crime by breaking down hard earned relationships. I do not support S-Comm and I do not want the program here in my community.”

By asking local law enforcement officers to take over the enforcement of federal laws, S-Comm not only takes scarce resources away from battling serious and violent local crime, it will increase racial and ethnic profiling. These issues and many more will be discussed at the Greater Boston Community Forum on S-Comm, Thursday, April 28, 6:00 pm, at Chelsea High School, 299 Everett Street, Chelsea, MA.

Community Members and Leaders Testifying include:

  • Gladys Vega, Executive Director, Chelsea Collaborative
  • Angel Mesa Coordinador, Proyecto Hondureño
  • Brian A. Kyes, Chief of Police, Chelsea
  • Andres Del Castillo, Student Immigrant Activist
  • Sarang Sekhavat, Federal Policy Director, MIRA Coalition

    National Expert Witnesses:
  • Sunita Patel, Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Sarahi Uribe, Campaign Coordinator for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network

For Interviews Contact:

Gladys Vega, Executive Director of the Chelsea Collaborative,

& Gabriel Camacho, American Friends Service Committee (617) 947-7019