RI AG signs state up for immigration program

January 11, 2011

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has signed the state up to participate in a federal program aimed at identifying illegal immigrants who break the law.

Kilmartin on Tuesday signed a memorandum of agreement to enroll the state in the Secure Communities initiative. The Department of Homeland Security must also sign the agreement.

Secure Communities enables local police departments to automatically check the fingerprints of everyone they arrest against a federal immigration database to determine if the suspect is in the country illegally. Critics say it's leading to the deportation of people accused of non-violent offenses.

Secure Communities is separate from the executive order on illegal immigration rescinded last week by new Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'fee). Part of that order by Chafee's predecessor had required state police to help federal authorities with immigration enforcement.