Non-Immigrant Visa Options for Nurses – guerreroyee.com

In this post, other avenues for sponsorship are explored.

NIV Options for Nurses — Atty. Rio Guerrero

Since the H-1C nonimmigrant visa program sunset on December 20, 2009, visas for hundreds of nurses have expired or will soon expire, leaving H-1C-authorized healthcare employers struggling to provide much-needed professional nursing care with a dwindling nursing staff. Although H.R. 1933, which is currently pending before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, would reauthorize the H-1C nonimmigrant visa program, the sunset of this program casts light upon the dearth of nonimmigrant visa options available for foreign nurses and its negative impact upon nurse staffing nationwide. What are the alternatives for healthcare facilities in the United States?

Currently Available Nonimmigrant Visa Options for Nurses

TN Status—NAFTA
Registered nurses are included in the list of professions eligible for TN status pursuant to Appendix 1603.D.1 to Annex 1603 of NAFTA.
It is difficult to accurately measure the precise number of Canadian and Mexican citizens currently employed as professional nurses in TN status, however, TN status is generally believed to be the most frequently utilized nonimmigrant option among foreign nurses employed in the United States. The primary advantage of TN status is the ease of entry. Registered nurses applying for admission in TN status may be employed in positions covering a wide scope of expertise – from entry-level RN placements to more senior administrative positions. However, the stark disadvantage of TN status is that the pool of potential foreign nurses is restricted to Canadian and Mexican citizens.

H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers
It is well-settled that certain specialty occupations in the nursing industry may qualify for H-1B  nonimmigrant status. Specifically, a narrow group of nurses holding a baccalaureate or higher degree (or equivalency) in nursing that includes advanced practice nurses (such as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS), Nurse Practitioners (NP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), and Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM)), nurse managers, and nursing administrators, may qualify for H-1B status. According to USCIS data, the issuance of H-1B visas for specialty occupation nurses varies greatly from year to year. In recent history, the greatest number of H-1B nurse visas issued in any given fiscal year was only 136. Unlike TN status, the H-1B visa for specialty occupation nurses is available to qualified nurses from all foreign countries. However, the limited scope of eligible specialty occupations greatly narrows the potential use of the H-1B to fill U.S. nursing job vacancies. For instance, many RNs may not qualify for an H-1B because employers and state licensing boards do not usually require a BSN to perform services as a registered nurse.

Return of the H-1C?
The H-1C nonimmigrant classification enables foreign nurses to perform services as a registered
nurse in a U.S. health professional shortage area as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor
(DOL). To qualify for an H-1C visa, both the employer and employee must meet certain
eligibility criteria. The U.S. employer must:
-Be a “subsection (d)” hospital under the Social Security Act;
-Be located in a “Health Professional Shortage Area;”
– Have at least 190 acute care beds;
-Have a Medicare population of no less than 35%;
– Have a Medicaid population of no less than 28%; and
-Be certified by DOL.

The employee must:
-Hold a full and unrestricted nursing license in the country where their nursing education was obtained, or have received a nursing education in the U.S.;
-Have passed the examination administered by the Commission on Graduates for Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or have a full and unrestricted license to practice as a registered nurse in the state where the employee will work, or have a full and unrestricted registered nurse’s license in any state and have received temporary authorization to practice as a registered nurse in the state where the employee will work; and
-Have been fully qualified and eligible under the laws of the state of intended employment to practice as a registered nurse immediately upon admission to the U.S.

According to recent information provided by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, H.R. 1933 remains on the Committee’s agenda, but is not yet scheduled for a Senate vote. As drafted, this legislation reauthorizes the availability of 300 H-1C visas (a departure from the 500 originally authorized under NRDAA) for an initial validity period of three years, with the opportunity to renew H-1C status for an additional three years. New aspects of H.R. 1933 include the three-year extension and H-1C portability between any of the eligible hospitals under INA §214(n). Whether H.R. 1933 becomes law remains to be determined, but it would no doubt assist authorized healthcare facilities to meet their nursing staff needs given that most H-1C visas have already expired.

Click here to view complete text for “Non-Immigrant Visa Options for Nurses”.

With Multiple Degrees and a Stable Job – Why Do They Still Leave?

I recently received an application from a Philippine-based RN ‘dreaming’ to work in US. The application packet, although complete and very professionally prepared, was sent through the applicant’s mother’s friend’s friend — infamously and laughably a common cultural practice in the Philippines that seeped its way into the modern workplace and overseas. Known as the ‘padrino system’ or patronage,  this is a system where one primarily gains favor through family affiliation  or friendship  before an applicant’s merit. 

The applicant is initially a BS Biology graduate of one of the best universities in the country, of which entries to both the system and the course program are cut-throat battles in the Philippine academe. Yet despite the laurels, the applicant immediately  went back to school after graduation and took up BS Nursing. Armed with this new degree, he simultaneously applied to reputable hospitals in Metro Manila while diligently preparing for the exam administered by the Texas Board of Nursing. Bright and determined, the applicant succeeded in both: got a much desired job in a famous modern hospital and passed the Texas Board exam for nurses in one take. Unfortunately for the applicant, the visa classification for RNs and professionals is on retrogression so US is definitely not in the applicant’s horizon. Unfortunately for the Philippines, if not the United States, there will be other Western countries that will employ him. Unfortunately for all the developing countries in the world such as former African colonies, Carribean Islands, East Germany, Soviet Union, India,  the case is not isolated in the Philippines. These countries’ brain drain is a brain gain to most highly developed North American, European and Asian countries.

For more info on retrogression, click here for our previous post.

This biologist turned RN wanting to work in US is a classic case of brain drain. Brain drain aka human capital flight is the not only the departure of educated or professional people from one country, it can also be from one economic sector, or field for another, usually for better pay or living conditions. Brain drain is often associated with de-skilling of emigrants in their country of destination, while their country of emigration experiences the draining of skilled individuals. Worse, a lot of these professionals emigrate to another country taking with them a fraction of value of their training sponsored by the government or other local organizations. They can’t be blamed though. They move to countries where their highly marketable skills are  financially rewarded.

Just to better illustrate the disparity in compensation, below is an official rate sheet of an RN working in an Upscale hospital in Metropolitan Manila.

The current market rate of an RN working in an Upscale hospital in Metropolitan Manila. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut this by half or third, and that’s the approximate salary of RNs working in less prestigious hospitals. Some RNs don’t even get paid and many others pay the hospital in order to get work experience.

This is the salary equivalent in US dollars based on $43.00-Php 1.00 exchange rate. 

Salaries in converted to US dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

……

Illustrated below is the estimated annual compensation  of Med-Surg and CCU RNs in Metro New York as published by http://www.salary.com. A Med Surg nurse’s median annual salary is $76, 937 ($6,412/month) while a CCU nurse gets $ 77, 303 ($6,442/month) based on a 35-40 hour work week. 

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Visa Retrogression – What does it mean to professional immigrant workers?

Before June of this year, there were two major visa categories that are popular among professional immigrant workers: the H1b Visa aka work visa and EB2 or the greencard route.

H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US employers to temporarily employ professional foreign workers in specialty occupations. On the other hand, EB2 Visa is a permanent residency route for professionals holding advanced degrees (Ph.D., master’s degree, or at least five years of progressive post-baccalaureate experience) or persons of exceptional ability in sciences, arts, or business.

Unfortunately, the USCIS has announced that the 2013 H-1B visa cap has been reached as of June 11th. Any cases received after June 11th will be rejected and returned with filing fees uncashed. However, the rejected and would-be applicants may file again next fiscal year. The next blow is that the July 2012 visa bulletin shows that the ‘worldwide EB2′ visa category has retrogressed almost 3 years. This is the one category that remained consistently ‘current’ in recent years (together with EB1).

What happens now?

Photo from http://redbus2us.com. Edited by author.

For more information about RETROGRESSION, click this link.

For USCIS Visa Bulletin, click here.

What does RETROGRESSION mean to professional immigrant workers and their employers? This could mean long waiting times for green cards.  This means job employment offers need to be rewritten or  projects be off-shored.  In uncertain cases such as this, not much can be done than to persevere and tuck growing disappointment. There are surely other legal routes to continue working in America while hoping that these two visas will be available again soon.

US immigration system is not ideal and reform is essential to ensure Uncle Sam does not lose talented people to help boost the economy and create jobs.Right now, all that is left to do is wait. Let us see what the future has in store.

SOURCE: http://www.uscis.gov

Disclaimer: This is a post written from a layman’s perspective and should not be regarded as an immigration advice.  For valid legal advice, consult an immigration lawyer.

POLL: Is the Big Apple a recruiter’s market?

Gone are the days when hospitals and other healthcare facilities run after the nurses for employment. It is now recruiters’ market in the Big Apple.

Back in 2004, I remember how a cousin, a Registered Nurse educated outside US, was offered great pay and hefty sign-in bonus in exchange for committing to a 2-year contract with a reputable hospital in the City. The deal was a no-brainer because according to her, two years was nothing since the same contract that binds her to the hospital actually assures her of a regular job. On top of the monetary gains, the hospital also invested in sending her to conferences and continuing studies program that further developed her managerial and nursing skills. Today, she is a top-tier nurse executive in another reputable hospital. Back then her story wasn’t special; a lot of pro-active nurses then rode the way to success during the nursing crunch of the earlier days — a time when there were more needs for nurses and immigration of qualified healthcare professionals were so much easier. There were even hospital programs that offered nurse scholarships and stipends to qualified individuals.

In New York City, the queue for nurse applications grew since then. Today it is common to encounter nurses that are still searching for a regular job (with benefits) even six months after getting licensed. Their common complaint is a paradox: The nurses are not hired for lack of experience, yet how will they gain much required experience if they don’t get hired? For the ones that get hired, the working conditions are more pro-employer than pro-worker. Times have certainly changed.

Apply Now!

Career Assistance Program

At Meridian Nurse Recruiters, we have proven and effective ways to promote your resume. To the new nurse, we can help equip you with the right tools to get noticed. To the veterans, we can further propel your career to greater heights. Call us at 718-255-5830 for more information about our organization.

H1-B Nurses to US – from guerreroyee.com

via LinkedIn

Nursing is fast becoming another “profession-in-transition” in U.S. immigration law parlance. It is not unlike the transition that the physical therapy industry experienced this past decade – when a master’s degree officially became the minimum education standard for entry into the profession.But, again like the physical therapy industry, the initial years of this transition will require compelling arguments from the petitioning employer to convince U.S.

A recent New York State bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, Republican Senator James Alesi and other legislators seeks to further professionalize nursing in the state. Specifically, registered nurses would have to earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing (BSN) within ten years to continue working in the state. It does not require nurses who seek to enter the profession to hold a BSN now in order to obtain licensure, however they will have to obtain a BSN within 10 years once licensed.

The bill is a result of the national movement to increase the minimum education standards for nurses. The U.S. nursing community appears split on this issue. While many nurses are lobbying against the bill’s passage, a great many others in the nursing community champion the overall increase in minimum education standards.

The “bachelor’s of science degree in nursing within ten years” movement – known as the “BSN in 10” initiative is supported by health care organizations and nursing associations. It seeks to resolve a significant concern in the industry. Specifically, while the U.S. baby-boomer population ages and creates an explosion in the demand for elder care providers, there are not enough qualified nurses to meet that demand.

Presently, most registered nurses (RNs) hold only an associate’s degree. Incredibly, there is no state that actually requires a BSN as a minimum education level to enter the profession. But any nurse or other health care professional familiar with this occupation will quickly attest to the need for specialized knowledge and skills to perform many of the complex duties demanded in the profession today.

There is no debate regarding the rampant shortage of qualified nurses in the U.S. to care for the existing and growing population. This problem has persisted for decades. Unfortunately, the U.S. labor market has been unable to resolve this problem. Workers and students have recognized the career opportunities in nursing and are entering this profession. But even with this influx of U.S. workers, nearly all in the industry agree that a severe nursing shortage will persist unless more foreign nurses are authorized to work in the U.S. because attrition and a high burn out rate are inherent in the profession.

Foreign nurses are permitted to reside and practice their profession in the U.S. through a limited number of temporary work visas and permanent immigrant visas (m/c/k/a “green cards”) whose availability remains scarce. But if this bill succeeds, there will be a surge in the number of foreign nurses entering the New York State nursing profession, because many of them already have their BSNs or the equivalent. At present, there are thousands of overseas nurses desirous of coming to the U.S. to practice their profession. However, the lack of a BSN minimum education requirement and the current U.S. immigration law prohibits all but a select few foreign nurses to achieve from achieving this goal.

The BSN minimum education requirement and the resulting customs and practices of certain employers in New York State should allow a greater number of foreign nurses holding a BSN in nursing or foreign degree/work experience equivalency to secure H-1B temporary work visas through a petitioning employer. This would be a welcome result for the New York State healthcare system and the countless foreign nurses and their families who wish to immigrate to the U.S.

Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that a BSN is, in fact, required for the nursing position sought to be filled by the foreign nurse. Such arguments must be artfully crafted and carefully articulated by the lawyers building the case. But if presented properly, ultimately, USCIS must follow the industry and the employer’s standards, allowing foreign nurses to more easily immigrate to and work in New York state and the U.S.

Please feel free to ask any questions, comment, or request more information in the Comments Box below. Also, please forward this blog article to anyone who may be interested.

Rio M. Guerrero, Esq.
rio@guerreroyee.com

Immigration Woes of a Physical Therapist – Inquirer.Net

Happiness 2011

By: 

 

What would make me happy?

A great job?

A hot boyfriend?

A fulfilling relationship?

A brand-new car?

Travel around the world?

Or just getting along better with myself?

What is happiness all about?

There’s no universally accepted definition of what happiness is. To some, it’s free, to others it may costmillions of pesos. Happiness comes in different forms.

My project for 2011 was to find its meaning, and I was convinced I knew exactly what I needed to achieve it.

I like making time frames, planning ahead and setting goals. I do this on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.  I would list down the things that I need to do every day and I put a check mark on each once I’m done with it, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

For 2011, I had a long list of expectations and goals, and little did I know that one would turn into an obsession…

I got obsessed with my American dream.

If only there are better career opportunities here in the Philippines for physical therapists, I would prefer to just stay and be with my family. To work there one has to go through a long, cumbersome process and to take the state board exam which is given only in the United States. A few nightmares we have to go through are: “credentialing” to make sure our education is equivalent to US standards; passing the English exam; and getting a US visa.

I had been working on this for quite some time, and I was hoping that I could make it happen in 2011. I said to myself that if I made it, I would be truly happy. I got close to achieving this goal, so close that I could almost taste it.

But life is truly unpredictable, there are certain things that are beyond our control. Some decisions are not ours to make.

Despite everything I did, I wasn’t able to leave. This made me feel so frustrated, I felt like the universe was treating me unfairly.

So the waiting game continues to this day.

It was March when I was told by my agency to wait for six more months. Six months felt like forever, I consoled myself by saying I’ll get by, I’ll just make the most during the “waiting period.” But six months turned to seven, then nine. To make a long story short, it has been approximately four years (and still counting) of waiting since I was told to wait for six more months.

The waiting game made me feel insane!  I got feelings of anxiety and impatience. I blamed the universe for playing tricks on me. I felt like a lollipop has been dangled in front of me only to be cruelly taken away just as I reached out for it. I quietly prayed to God and asked for answers.  “Lord I thought you want me to be happy, but why is this happening?  But whatever it is, Lord, I trust you, I know you have better plans for me.”

After the phone call I had from my agency telling me about another “delay,” I wanted to cry, but my three-year-old niece gave me a tight warm hug which made me feel better.

During the waiting period, I did a lot of stuff just to keep my mind from my frustrations. I would offer to babysit my adorable niece and nephew at my brother’s new home (they recently moved to the Philippines from Singapore). I spent more time with my family. I also went back to the review center and met amazing people and new friends. I was able to enjoy running again and joined my brother and some friends in a couple of fun runs. I got into yoga and enjoyed it beyond my expectations. And I was able to do a lot of reading, caught up with my favorite TV programs and movies.  I was able to play the guitar and sing again. I had more “me” time (thank you for the amazing online deals that I was able to get for myself and the pampering that I needed). I was able to sort out my cluttered thoughts, which enabled me to write this.

Year 2011 was all about waiting, and during this period, I realized that I found the happiness I have been looking for.  My family, my friends, my newfound interests, the good weather, an appreciation from patients thanking me for somehow making them feel better are just some of the countless things that made me happy in the year past. I learned about faith-based optimism, to let go of expectations and my obsession about achieving a specific goal at a particular time. I also learned that it’s good to plan and to be optimistic about your plans, but no matter how hard a person plans something, if it is not the right time, it won’t happen.

I do have plans, but it is God’s plan that will prevail in the end. This waiting period has given me the opportunity to understand what I really want, and to realize that some dreams would not necessarily give me the happiness that I am looking for.

Like what most people say, a flower will grow and bloom on its own good time. There’s no need to give it a deadline. If it’s not growing as fast as we want to, we just have to trust Mother Nature. For a beautiful flowerto bloom, it has to have enough water and sunlight. We can always trust a flower to bloom, but we cannot guarantee the precise moment when it will spread its petals. So is trusting God, He knows what is best for us, and we can always complement our hard work and determination with prayers.

Happiness is like a switch; when to turn it on or off is within our control, we just have to know where the switch is. It is something that we don’t wait to happen, it is something that we do. It doesn’t wait on time, it is not something that waits for the future. We just have to open up and let it in.

I celebrated New Year’s Eve with my loved ones and I can say that my search for happiness has been a real success. I am looking forward to more reasons to be happy in 2012.  I will continue to pursue my dreams and finish what I have already started but this time, with a hopeful and happy heart because I believe that happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Success is the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of the ice cream, a bonus to my already awesome life.

 

Aina, 29, is a freelance physical therapist. She wrote this piece last New Year’s Eve, while looking back to year 2011.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments

The genesis of much of the successful work produced by our law firm originates from a company’s human resources (HR) director or department. A company’s HR department may have a prospective employee, or a current employee, for whom an immigration matter has arisen that must be resolved in order to begin or continue lawful employment. Typically, an HR associate or director asks us what information we need to build a winning case before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

A client’s HR department will call or email our firm asking whether a prospective (or current) employee possesses the correct work authorization documentation. Do they have the correct non-immigrant visa status in place? There is an alphabet soup of visa options – such as H, E, L, O, P, TN, etc. – available to foreign nationals seeking authorization to work in the U.S. Or, do they have a currently valid employment authorization document (EAD)? An EAD is commonly issued to persons who are in the process of applying for U.S. lawful permanent resident status, more commonly known as “green card” status. There are other situations whereby a foreign national may obtain an EAD.

When initially analyzing any potential employment-based visa matter, immigration attorneys consider three vital components:

The Employer

At a minimum, USCIS is typically concerned with two issues regarding a prospective sponsoring employer:

  • the legitimacy of the employer’s business operations; and
  • its ability to pay whatever the minimum wage or salary may be required for a particular position.

The Position

USCIS is also focused upon the position offered:

  • Is this a specialty occupation job or a professional job?
  • Considering the particular industry at issue, what is the minimum education and work experience required?
  • Are there other specific requirements for this position such as licenses, languages, credentialing, security clearances or certifications?
  • Does this position customarily exist for similar employers in this industry?

The Employee

  • If there is a minimum of education and/or work experience required for the position, has the individual met it/them?
  • Has the individual met any licensure, language, etc. minimum requirements?
  • Is the individual in the country legally, and if yes:
    Is their immigration status adequate for the position, or can it be changed easily to a visa status that will authorize employment for this position?
  • Will they have to travel outside of the country in order to make any necessary visa status change?
  • Does the individual have any derogatory immigration or criminal history?
  • Does the individual have any immediate family who wish to accompany him/her in the U.S.?

Generally, these three components are the focus of our initial analysis and a helpful starting point for our HR colleagues. Every case is unique, no matter how it may appear similar to another. From the outset, it is important for HR and immigration counsel to work together – asking the right questions and procuring the vital documentation to properly analyze a matter and develop a winning strategy.

Immigration Counsel and HR Departments | Guerrero Yee LLP – The Immigration Specialists | Share on LinkedIn.

Growing Up … and Old Without Nursing Homes

In modern and busy US and most European countries there are numerous nursing homes, adult-care facilities and assisted living centers whose primary goal is to care and provide the best living conditions for the elderly or disabled patients whose skills for daily living have greatly depreciated either by old age or prolonged illness. The nursing homes or Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) employ healthcare professionals such as nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse assistants, therapists and many others that work hand-in-hand in caring for the patients 24/7.

The situation is exactly the opposite in the Philippines and many other third world nations where economies aren’t humming as fast as America and Europe. Nursing homes are simply not the status quo for many reasons. Foremost reason is that these countries, like the Philippines, has a culture that expects the kin and a huge extended family to care for their elderly.  Just as parents are expected to provide for the children and make sure they have the best education possible, the children/grandchildren are expected by society to ‘give back’ by taking care of their parents in their twilight years. Traditionally, one person in the family is designated to care for the parents. A daughter is expected to care for both parents in their senior years, thus oftentimes ending up a matron. This was a practice that was probably brought to the Philippines by the Spanish conquistadores who were in the country for more than 300 years or for some other countries such as the Trinidad, India, Haiti, Caribbean Islands, Guyana, etc… simply an old-age tradition that just wouldn’t go away.

Click here for a video clip of the critically acclaimed book-film Like Water for Chocolate that required the protagonist to undergo such practice of requiring a member of the family to care for the parent/s.

In modern times, when the children started working abroad and inevitably leave the parents at home, they will setup a living arrangement for a distant relative to care for their ailing parents in exchange for lodging and minimal financial support. The more affluent ones will hire  professional nurses that manage the daily needs of the elderly patient. The goal is for the old folks to remain comfortably cared for in their own homes as they await their final days.

Historically, there was an exodus of foreign healthcare professional since the 1960s to the early part of the 1990s. The nurses and therapists were petitioned as either immigrant or on work visas by hospitals and for the most part, nursing homes. When they came to American shores, these new workers expected to be assigned at hospitals and other similar short-term care facilities. Little did they know that a lot of them will be performing jobs that is second nature to them — caring for geriatric patients.

Click here to view a Philippine McDonald’s commercial showing a granddaughter caring for her grandfather with Alzheimer’s condition. Subtitles are included.

Getting Informed is the Best Route to America

Much has been said about the US economic downturn and how a lot of first world countries have overtaken America in most aspects, but still the nation has built itself as a symbol of democracy and land of opportunity that many smaller nations look up to for economic growth. In US Consulates in most countries, people come in droves daily to try their luck with the Consuls. A lot of foreign nationals go through a lot of trouble just to get to America. Whether America delivers the dream to the people or not, is another story. Still the greencard and the US visa remain one of the world’s most sought after commodities.

There are many paths to working and finally settling in US such as an employee-sponsored work visa or greencard. But the reality is the requirements are so stringent and costs are high making it almost impossible especially with the ever changing and unpredictable Immigration laws. Sadly, as if this isn’t bad enough, some erratic agencies and individuals take advantage of the ignorance of the prospective immigrants.

The best route is being informed and prepared. Online information is readily available just make sure to visit the official sites.

CREDENTIALLING

LICENSE

TRANSFER

For License Reciprocity Information: https://www.nursys.com/

For more information and advise on how to prepare for a career in US and New York, email us at jobs@meridiannurse.com.

Boston threatens to opt out of Secure Communities program | Immigration Chronicles | a Chron.com blog

Boston threatens to opt out of Secure Communities program

Boston has joined the growing list of cities threatening to opt-out of Secure Communities. Boston was among the first to test ICE’s signature jail identification program, which debuted in Harris County. Until recently, the leadership in Boston was vocal in support of the program.

Here’s more from the Boston Globe:

In an abrupt turnaround, Mayor Thomas M. Menino has said he will withdraw Boston police from the federal Secure Communities program unless US federal immigration officials limit their deportation efforts to only those immigrants who have committed serious crimes.

In a letter to be delivered today to the Department of Homeland Security’s Secure Communities task force, Menino said the program, which requires that fingerprints from arrests be cross-referenced with federal immigration databases, has caused a breakdown of relations between residents and law enforcement officials in Boston’s immigrant communities. The cross-referencing means that people picked up for relatively minor crimes can face deportation, along with the more serious criminals the program was meant to target.

“As operated now, Secure Communities is diminishing trust, an essential part of the neighborhood fabric and a vital public safety tool,’’ Menino wrote.

“Secure Communities must change substantially or be scrapped,’’ he wrote.

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via Boston threatens to opt out of Secure Communities program | Immigration Chronicles | a Chron.com blog.