The Providence Journal is reporting that Attorney General Elect, Peter Kilmartin, is planning to adopt the federal immigration program, “Secure Communities“. Under this controversial plan, anyone arrested for a crime in Rhode Island will have the fingerprints taken and compared against a federal immigration database to determine if they are illegal aliens.
According to Kilmartin, the program is only aimed at identifying illegal immigrants accused of breaking the law. In his words, “these people are being accused of crimes, have probable cause to be arrested for crimes.” Others are nervous that such a program could incite racial profiling arrests and discourage victims from reporting crimes (in particular, domestic abuse) for fear that their friend or family member may be deported. In addition, opponents to the program fear that people who are accused of trivial crimes, or have their charges dropped completely, can still find themselves embroiled in an immigration battle.
The Rhode Island ACLU is sure to challenge this program and there are bound to be opponents and proponents. It will certainly make the criminal justice system in Rhode Island a much more serious environment for those lacking proper immigration status.