Governor changes immigration view

Immigration activist Patricia Montes was shocked when Gov. Deval Patrick reversed course this weekend on a controversial federal program to check the immigration status of anyone arrested.

After resisting the Secure Communities program for several years, Patrick will adopt it shortly after the New Year instead of waiting for the program to become mandatory in 2013.

“I believe in democracy, I believe in society participating in the decision making process,” said Montes of Centro Presente.“I don’t see this happening.”

The Patrick administration said it will proceed with caution.

“We will also work closely with all communities to monitor the implementation and share with federal officials any concerns that are raised,” Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan said.

Steve Kropper, co-chairman of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform, said if the state doesn’t agree to participate now it won’t have standing to help fine tune it later.

“Jumping in early lets us do this in a way that fits Massachusetts’ style,” he said before applauding Patrick. “We still disagree with some issues but his position has evolved.”

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