Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Secure Communities active in RI; Providence is included (Providence Journal)

Secure Communities active in RI; Providence is included

11:13 AM Tue, Apr 05, 2011
Gregory Smith

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Secure Communities has been activated for Rhode Island law enforcement, Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin has acknowledged. And a reluctant Providence is included.

Secure Communities is a program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in which the FBI takes information about all the people arrested and booked by the police and checks a federal government database to see if they are subject to deportation. They can be subject to deportation either because they are in the United States illegally or because they have committed a crime or another civil immigration violation, or both.

A key component of the program is the use of fingerprints to foil people who lie about who they are.

The FBI quietly began seeking to match information about individuals arrested and booked in Rhode Island with information about those individuals in a database of the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, on March 22, according to Kilmartin spokeswoman Amy Kempe. ICE is part of Homeland Security.

Although Secure Communities has been controversial, there was no announcement in Rhode Island of the activation. Kilmartin, who had Rhode Island enlisted in Secure Communities, wanted to make sure there were no technical problems before he disclosed it, Kempe said Tuesday.

Immigrant advocates complain that Secure Communities leads to the deportation of people who have committed only minor crimes or civil infractions of federal immigration law, and unjustifiably disrupts the established lives in the U.S. of individuals and families.

They say it creates unproductive and counterproductive fear among legal and illegal immigrants who are contributing to American society.

Kilmartin and other supporters of Secure Communities contend that it makes Rhode Island safer because it rids the state of criminals, some of whom prey on the immigrant community.

Local law enforcement jurisdictions may not opt out of Secure Communities, according to ICE, as Providence asked to do.

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