Early in May, New Hampshire began participating in the Secure Communities program, which is a program that allows law enforcement to determine an arrestee’s immigration status by entering their fingerprints into a federal database.
Individual states have been slowly going live with Secure Communities and New Hampshire was one of the few New England states to enter the program early in May. The program should be nationwide by next year.
The Secure Communities database is intended to help ICE agents identify illegal immigrants who are guilty of committing crimes and is intended to make communities safer. Although participation in Secure Communities has been endorsed by Governor John Lynch, and has the approval of many individuals, who take a tough stance on illegal immigration, the program has its critics.
If an immigrant is arrested, they face deportation if they have not gotten the necessary visas or green cards through an immigration attorney.
Police officials in some New Hampshire towns say they don’t have the resources necessary to participate in the program, namely a fingerprint scanner that allows them to cross-reference with the Department of Homeland Security database. Small-town police also say they don’t feel it is their responsibility to enforce federal immigration laws.
As the federal government continues to implement programs intended to crack down on illegal immigration such as Secure Communities, or the E-Verify program, anyone who hasn’t gotten a student visa, a temporary work visa, or green card will be faced with removal from the country, making it even more critical that they utilized the expertise of a New Hampshire immigration lawyer to obtain legal documentation.
Being the U.S. illegally can lead to detention and eventual deportation. This not only requires the help of a New Hampshire immigration attorney to challenge removal from the country but also puts their chances for future legal residency at risk.