Mayoral candidates meet at RI Latino Civic Fund debate

Providence, R.I. – Candidates running for Mayor of Providence faced off last night in a debate sponsored by the Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund. Among the topics discussed by the four candidates: Rhode Island's controversial immigration policy, which requests state and local police to help enforce federal immigration law.

For the most part, Democrats Angel Tavares, John Lombardi and Stev Costantino agree -- having the police look for illegal immigrants encourages racial profiling. Only Independent candidate Jonathan Scott said he would support using Providence police to enforce federal immigration law.

"I do think that the Providence police should enforce the laws as they exist," Scott said. "There's no question about that in my mind. But Providence police should not be out profiling whether that's Latinos, the homeless folks, whoever it is."

Rhode Island has made headlines in recent weeks as its policy on immigration has been compared to a new Arizona law, which requires local police to check the papers of suspected illegal immigrants. Since 2008, an executive order signed by Gov. Carcieri has required Rhode Island state police to check immigration status. Local police are encouraged but not required to do the same.