Immigrants’ Rights Activists Want California To Opt Out Of Fingerprint Program

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The governor of Massachusetts is under fire for agreeing to cooperate with a federal program that checks the immigration status of anyone arrested for a crime. Now, immigrants’ rights groups hope California’s incoming attorney general will pull the Golden State out of the same program.

San Francisco and Santa Clara County Supervisors have already voted to opt out of Secure Communities, under which states forward the fingerprints of the arrested to federal immigration authorities, to make sure they’re not illegal immigrants. But those votes carry no legal weight, according to Mark Silverman of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“The only way for a local county to opt out is if the whole state opts out,” said Silverman.

That is something Attorney General, and Governor-Elect Jerry Brown has refused to do.

Now pro-immigrant groups hope Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris will withdraw California from the federal fingerprint program, which Silverman believes has too broad a reach.

“We should be going after terrorists and serious criminals, not janitors and construction workers, who are working hard to maintain their families here,” said Silverman.

Harris says she needs to study the issue and see what the options are. The feds say states have no options, and must participate in the program.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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