PROVIDENCE, RI – Earlier this year Providence Mayor Angel Taveras tried unsuccessfully to withdraw the capital city from the secure communities program. It's a federal program that requires police to check the immigration status of people arrested against a federal database to see whether they are in the country illegally.
Now, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino says he plans to withdraw his city from the program. He says it has caused a breakdown of relations between residents and police in immigrant communities.
Providence public safety commissioner Steven Pare agrees with Menino. He adds the secure communities program is deterring immigrants from reporting crime.
"It's certainly chilling in the minority community," he says. "They fear being fingerprinted and reported to immigration authorities. If they think they're here illegally then they may be deported so they're not going to come forward with complaints and it has an effect on victims."
But Pare says as long as the program has the support of Rhode Island attorney general Peter Kilmartin the city will be an unwilling participant.
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