Thursday May 10, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is warning law enforcement officials not to use a federal program aimed at identifying illegal immigrants arrested for crimes as a "license to profile."

Patrick told reporters Thursday that he doesn't want the Secure Communities program used to "gin up unnecessary fear" in minority communities whose continued cooperation with police is important for public safety.

Patrick's comments came in response to the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to launch the program next week.

Patrick also said the decision wasn't a surprise. He said from the state's perspective very little changes because Massachusetts already shares fingerprints and other information with federal law enforcement agencies.

Advocates for immigrants say the program erodes trust in the police, encourages racial profiling, and erodes civil liberties.