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Connecticut Officials Wary Of Federal Immigration Program

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U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. (File Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol agents. (File Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP and WTIC-AM Staff) _ Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is responding cautiously to federal requests for information enforcing U.S. immigration laws.

The federal government is launching its Secure Communities program in Connecticut Wednesday. The program uses fingerprints collected in local jails to identify illegal immigrants who have been arrested.

Mike Lawlor, Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, said in a statement Monday that Malloy believes the program converts local law enforcement officers into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

He says victims and witnesses in the immigrant community could be reluctant to cooperate with local and state law enforcement.

Meanwhile, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano said the program should be delayed.

“ICE’s administration of the program has shown that almost everyone they pick up, have either no criminal record, or minor criminal offenses like writing a bad check,” DeStefano said.

This program will diminish our community policing strategy, and make New Haven a less safe place,” DeStefano said.  “We are asking that ICE reform the program.”

DeStefano said the federal program could make undocumented people reluctant to come forward if they are the victims of crime

Malloy has asked the Department of Correction commissioner to review how the program is working and that decisions responding to each request will be made on a case-by-case basis.

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