Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, said today that Gov. Andrew Cuomo should reconsider last week’s decision to suspend New York’s participation in the federal Secure Communities Program, saying it was “created to quickly and accurately identify dangerous criminals who are arrested for a crime and booked into local law enforcement custody.”
Cuomo withdrew the state from the federal program last week, saying there is “mounting evidence that the program is not meeting its stated goal and has serious consequences for witnesses, victims of crime and law enforcement.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick today pulled his state out of the program.
Cuomo’s decision was hailed by immigration-rights groups and fellow Democrats. But Ball is taking the opposite view. He said he’s holding a hearing June 15 to review the governor’s decision.
Ball is chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee.
“Nearly ten years after 9/11, we still have not thoroughly secured our soft underbelly in New York City or our suburbs. Radio operability and interoperability is still a real issue,” Ball said in a statement. “Much of New York City, outside of lower Manhattan, has not been thoroughly hardened. Core communications and transportation infrastructure is not secure at a moment when we should be looking at ways to provide more tools to law enforcement. This Governor is now suspending a vital law enforcement tool. Knowing what we know about those who seek to harm us, this move is a dereliction of duty and just one more ingredient in a recipe for disaster.”
Ball’s news release also included a statement from Putnam County Sheriff Donald B. Smith, who says the program “provides an automated system for law enforcement to check the fingerprints of an arrested person against records in the computer database maintained by federal immigration authorities. It enables police to find out quickly and accurately, whether a person who has been charged with a state crime has also committed an immigration related offense.”