Saturday, August 27, 2011

Massachusetts a safe haven for criminals

The death of a Milford man, allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant, is sparking a call for change, and now a top official in Worcester County is pointing the finger at Governor Patrick. Sheriff Lew Evangelidis announced today that Worcester County has officially requested to join the Secure Communities program, even though the state as a whole opted out it.

The program shares the fingerprints of people arrested by police with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in hopes of getting dangerous illegal immigrants off the streets.

The sheriff says the program may have prevented the death of 23-year-old Matthew Denice in a drunk driving crash last weekend, a crash allegedly caused by illegal immigrant Nicolas Guaman, who has a lengthy criminal record.

“I believe the governor by not joining this today is not putting the safety of the citizens of Massachusetts first,” said Sheriff Evangelidis. “He's failed to join more than 40 other states who have already joined Secure Communities. He's made us a national safe haven, for criminal aliens.”

The governor responded to the growing chorus of critics, saying, “Illegal immigration didn't kill this person. A drunk driver killed this person and we have laws about that, and I expect the book to be thrown at this person.”

Critics of the Secure Communities program say it terrorizes an already suspicious immigrant community.

ICE has also received requests to activate Secure Communities from the Bristol and Plymouth County sheriffs as well as the Franklin police.

It's important to point out that ICE is no longer asking or requiring states to sign onto Secure Communities. It plans to roll out the program all over the country, including Massachusetts by 2013, like it or not.


Canadian refugee plan catches flak

Giving failed refugee claimants thousands of dollars to return home could make Canada’s “broken” immigration system vulnerable to even more abuse, says an immigration expert.

Herbert Grubel, of the Fraser Institute, called the federal government’s plan to give failed refugee claimants $2,000 each as incentive to leave Canada promptly will attract fraudulent claimants and unscrupulous immigration consultants looking for a payday.

“The idea is right, but ... it will also create the wrong incentive, (with) more people coming here and making claims they know are questionable,” said Grubel, who recently wrote a paper on the “huge fiscal burden” immigrants have on Canadians.

The Canadian government plans next June to implement the Assisted Voluntary Returns program, where failed claimants in a 2012 pilot project will receive a financial incentive of $2,000 to leave Canada.

The money would be sent to a non-governmental organization in a failed refugee’s respective country, according to the plan. The organization would provide the cash to the claimant upon their return to use for business pursuits, education or vocational training, confirmed a spokesman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

The project will be aimed at more than 1,900 failed claimants, costing taxpayers $12 million.

Grubel conceded the plan might “get some people to go back home who would otherwise hang around and burden our justice system.” However, he argued there’s no telling how many more will take advantage of Canada’s healthcare and welfare systems while they wait for a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Immigration lawyer Sergio Karas called the program a slap in the face to the process.

“This is bad policy because it undermines the rule of law,” Karas said. “People who have had the right to due process, have gone through the system and have been determined to not to have a valid claim should not be paid for obeying a deportation order.”

Karas insisted such a program will attract scammers looking to cash in. The United Kingdom’s controversial incentive program is a good example, he said.

The United Kingdom’s Daily Mail reported in 2007 that failed refugee claimants had been receiving over $6,400 each to return to their country of origin. After returning home, some used the money to open businesses such as a beauty salon, a vineyard and an ostrich farm.


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