By CATHERINE WELCH & IAN DONNIS
PROVIDENCE. R.I. – Attorney General-elect Peter Kilmartin said he'll enlist the state in a federal program that checks fingerprints with an immigration database. The "Secure Communities" program has police check fingerprints against FBI criminal and immigration databases.
Kilmartin campaigned on the issue, and it's a program that will protect Rhode Island families, said Kilmartin spokesman Brett Broesder.
Steven Brown of the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union said the fingerprint program gives police a pre-text to seek immigration status.
"Somebody doesn't really believe they committed a crime, but believes that these people may be in the country illegally," said Kilmartin. "So one way to find that out is to arrest them and fingerprint them even though they know there's no basis to pursuing the criminal charges that led to the arrest."
Rhode Island State Police already check suspects in compliance with an executive order from Governor Don Carcieri issued back in 2008. The federal government plans to roll out the "Secure Communities" nationwide by 2013.
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