Illegal-immigrant scrutiny tightens in Mass.

Secure Communities to expand in the state next week, despite protests

Federal officials next week will expand in Massachusetts a controversial program targeting illegal immigrants, particularly criminals, despite longstanding opposition from Governor Deval Patrick and advocates, according to local law enforcement officials who were notified Tuesday of the launch.

Federal officials had announced plans to launch the program- called Secure Communities - by the end of 2013, and the announcement that it would come on May 15 caught some officials by surprise. Patrick has objected to the program on grounds that it nets many immigrants with no criminal convictions.

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