Fed govt signs deal with RI on immigration program

January 13, 2011

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PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Federal officials have signed their end of a deal for Rhode Island to participate in a program that allows police to check fingerprints of all people booked into jail to see if they are in the country illegally.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin says the agreement signed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Thursday will enlist the state in the federal "Secure Communities" initiative. Rhode Island signed its part of the agreement earlier this week, though it's not known yet when the program will become active in the state.

That program, which the government hopes to roll out nationwide by 2013, enables local police departments to immediately know if a person is believed to be in the country illegally.

Immigrant advocates protested at Kilmartin's office last week about the state's participation in the program.