SANCTUARY CITIES AND STATES
RHODE ISLAND IS NOT A SANCTUARY STATE
Sanctuary status threatened by Providence police chief
Federal agents arrest 31 illegal immigrants in sweep
By NINA BERNSTEIN for the NYT, December 26, 2008
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. — Few in this threadbare little mill town gave much thought to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility, the maximum-security jail beside the public ball fields at the edge of town. Even when it expanded and added barbed wire, Wyatt was just the backdrop for Little League games, its name stitched on the caps of the team it sponsored.
Then people began to disappear: the leader of a prayer group at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church; the father of a second grader at the public charter school; a woman who mopped floors in a Providence courthouse.
Federal agents arrest 31 illegal immigrants in sweep
WPRI, July 17, 2008
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - About 20 cleaning workers from Central and South America remained in custody Wednesday after a sweep of six Rhode Island courthouses that targeted illegal immigrants, including some who investigators said used fake names and Social Security numbers to get hired.
Federal immigration agents on Tuesday night arrested 31 workers hired by two contractors for the state court system, Falcon Maintenance Co. and Tri-State Enterprises. Investigators say the employees are illegal immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Brazil.
Governor appoints panel on immigration
By Karen Lee Ziner for the Providence Journal, June 7, 2008
PROVIDENCE — Governor Carcieri has named 27 people to an advisory panel that will monitor implementation of the executive order on illegal immigration that he issued in March. The panel includes representatives of religious groups, community agencies, government, law enforcement and business.
A chief component of the order seeks to deputize state troopers and some Corrections Department staff with immigration law enforcement powers. Another directive, begun last month, requires use of an E-Verify database to screen new employees in the executive branch and workers for state vendors to ensure they are legally authorized to work in this country.
R.I. House OKs immigration bill - Firms would need to check workers
Associated Press, 4/30/08
PROVIDENCE - Private employers would be forced to verify the immigration status of new workers under a bill that House lawmakers passed yesterday to discourage illegal immigration.
more stories like thisThe bill, adopted 53 to 17, would force all companies in Rhode Island to use a federal database called E-Verify to determine whether new hires are in the country legally.
Companies that refuse could face a fine up to $5,000.
Supporters call the database a tool for keeping illegal immigrants out of the workforce, while immigration advocates say the database is prone to error and sometimes identifies US citizens and legal immigrants as ineligible to work.
Last month Governor Don Carcieri signed an order directing executive branch agencies and companies doing business with the state to use the same database to screen their employees.
His order, which set off a fierce debate, also requires State Police and prison officials to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation.
Immigration debate erupts in R.I., fueled by budget crisis
By Ray Henry for the Associated Press, 4/25/08
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island's closest international border is the Canadian one, about 200 miles to the north. About 11 percent of the 1 million people who live here were born in another country, and estimates say that a third or fewer of those people are in the country illegally.
But Gov. Don Carcieri says illegal immigration has become such a problem -- and cost the state so much money at a time that it is grappling with a $568 million budget deficit -- that last month he signed an executive order directing state police to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Since then, church leaders and some of Carcieri's own advisers have urged him to rescind it or said it was creating a climate of fear among all minorities. Angry protesters stormed the office of Carcieri's top policy aide. Local police departments are divided, with some saying they'll enforce the order and the chief in Providence saying it's destructive to the bonds of trust officers have built with communities.
Hispanic leaders protest Carceiri’s immigration edict
By Paul Grimaldi for the Providence Journal, 4/19/08
PROVIDENCE — Members of the state’s Hispanic community yesterday gathered at the State House once again to protest Governor Carcieri’s recent order cracking down on illegal immigration.
The issue has stirred up passions on both sides of the immigration debate, even prompting members of the Hispanic community to briefly occupy a State House office during a protest earlier this month.
In contrast to that boisterous protest, yesterday’s gathering on the south steps of the State House was marked most often by murmured prayers and somber calls for divine intervention.
“The anti-immigrant sentiment that swept across this state and this nation is going to cause a lot of families to be broken up,” said the Rev. Eliseo Nogueras, 46, the pastor of Pawtucket’s House of Prayer Gethsemane. He is also chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs.
A native of Puerto Rico, Nogueras has been at the center of the opposition to Carcieri’s order.
He was once again at the center of events yesterday, calling the more than 300 people gathered at the base of the State House to kneel during a prayer vigil on the brick-and-marble patio.
Michael Ramos-Lynch '09: Gov. Carieri's new immigration order: one step closer to a police state
Brown Daily Herald, 4/14/08
On March 27, Gov. Donald Carcieri '65 signed an executive order to address undocumented immigration in Rhode Island. This order will negatively impact all Rhode Islanders.
The new policy relies upon racial profiling, turns state police officers into federal agents and uses terminology that describes Rhode Island public school students born to undocumented immigrant parents in America as a "tremendous strain" on the state despite their equal status as full U.S. citizens.
In a letter delivered to Carcieri on March 31, immigrant rights groups including Immigrants United, We Can Stop the Hate Rhode Island, the Hispanic Ministerial Association and the Univocal Legislative Minority Advisory Coalition called the order "the biggest attack on the rights of immigrants in Rhode Island in at least a generation." Their frustration is understandable. The order contains six provisions almost all of which will harm Rhode Island and its citizens.
Among the provisions, the Department of Administration will have to use a computer program called "E-Verify" to confirm that Rhode Island executive branch employees are legal immigrants or citizens. Companies that do business with the state will be required to use the program as well.
The order also creates a "Memorandum of Agreement" between United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and state police. The agreement will give state police officers (who will have received ICE training) the ability to search federal databases and process immigrants through the federal Wyatt Detention Center.
Local police chiefs support checking immigration status
By BARBARA POLICHETTI for the Providence Journal, 4/12/08
WARWICK — The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association this week endorsed one section of Governor Carcieri’s controversial executive order addressing illegal immigration in Rhode Island, according to Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney.
McCartney, who is president of the association, said “an overwhelming majority” of the police chiefs attending a private meeting Thursday voted to endorse a section of Carcieri’s executive order that asks local police to check the immigration status of people who are being detained or investigated for a crime.
McCartney declined to disclose the vote and noted that it is not binding, but is intended to make a statement of the opinion of the majority.
Gov.'s Hispanic commission asks him to rethink immigration order
Associated Press, 4/9/08
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - (WPRI) - Gov. Don Carcieri's Commission on Hispanic Affairs wants him to reconsider his executive order cracking down on illegal immigration.
Committee members said Friday that they don't support illegal immigration. But they fear that Carcieri's order could cause police to target Hispanics who are in the country legally. They also question the accuracy of population statistics that Carcieri has cited to justify his order.
Carcieri's order requires state police and prison officials to do more to find and help deport illegal immigrants. It also requires companies that do business with the state to verify that the employees they hire are here legally.
Commission members say they wish Carcieri met with them before signing the order.
A Carcieri spokesman says he has no intention of changing it.
R.I. lawmakers enter loud debate over illegal immigration
By Ray Henry for the Associated Press, 4/9/08
PROVIDENCE, R.I—State lawmakers entered the fiery argument over illegal immigration on Wednesday, debating 10 bills that would cut illegal immigrants off from state assistance, deny them driver's licenses and make it a felony to rent them a home.
more stories like thisThe House Judiciary Committee heard hours of heated testimony on the proposals but did not immediately vote on them. A crowd packed the hearing room, and activists cheered and booed from outside in the halls.
"We have an epidemic on our hands," said Rep. Peter Palumbo, a Democrat who has proposed some of the most stringent measures against illegal immigrants.
But critics warned the bills cracking down on illegal immigration could encourage racial profiling by the police. A judge told lawmakers that one proposal to deny illegal immigrants worker's compensation might encourage unscrupulous companies to hire illegal immigrants because they would face lesser penalties for failing to insure their workers.
Transcript of Governor Carcieri's immigration chat
Providence Journal, 4/9/08
Governor Carcieri: It’s a long answer but the upshot is that state departments such as the Department of Human Services already use a federal database to verify the immigration status of individuals applying for benefits. Over the last few years, we have worked to tighten up the system to ensure that only those who are entitled to benefits can receive them. The federal government also audits our performance in allocating federally-funded benefits to ensure that we are conforming to federal law.
artfer0307: You're executive order will affect only a relatively few illegal immigrants. My question is; What exactly do you want to ultimately see happen for the other 39,000 plus illegal immigrants who currently make their home here in Rhode Island?
Governor Carcieri: I’m not sure I agree that the impact will be as minimal as you say, but it is true that there is a much larger group that won’t be directly affected. I have been very clear that this is a federal issue and needs to be addressed by the federal government. I support federal immigration reform. But until the federal government (Congress, in particular) acts, I have an obligation as an elected official to abide by current federal law. I would also add that, to the extent we make certain that no illegal immigrants are employed by the state or its contractors, the employment opportunities will be diminished. This order will also deal with illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. The General Assembly is also considering legislation, which I support, to mandate that all employers use E Verify.
Esserman Bucks Governor On Immigration
PROVIDENCE - The Providence police chief has rejected Gov. Don Carcieri's call to local police to check the immigration status of people they take into custody.
Chief Dean Esserman told The Providence Journal that police will tell federal authorities if they inadvertently discover someone is an illegal immigrant.
But he said police shouldn't be responsible for investigating a person's immigration status.
He said if they are, it will have a "chilling effect" on people's willingness to cooperate with police and report crimes.
Carcieri's suggestion to law enforcement came in a March 27 executive order that included various steps to curb illegal immigration.
The governor has said he can't understand why people object to "common sense" steps to ensure the law is followed.
Immigration Order Sparks Protest
Turn to 10, 4/4/08
PROVIDENCE -- Gov. Don Carcieri has asked religious leaders to appeal for calm following protests and controversy over an executive order he signed last week cracking down on illegal immigration.
The latest reaction to his order was a rowdy protest Thursday, when about 100 immigration advocates filled his policy office chanting slogans such as "No human is illegal." Capitol Police removed them with no arrests.
The Rev. Eleso Nogueras, who heads the Hispanic Ministerial Association, reacted Friday during a taping of "10 News Conference."
"There are many groups out there that have been affected and feel that they have a right to go to the Capitol," Nogueras said. "We are not part of this particular effort."
But state Rep. Peter Palumbo, D-Cranston, who is about to introduce tough legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants, said the rowdy protest was off-base.
R.I. Advocates Decry Immigration Order
By MICHELLE R. SMITH for the AP, 4/1/08
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Supporters of immigrants' rights on Monday decried an executive order Gov. Don Carcieri signed last week cracking down on illegal immigrants and urged the General Assembly to reverse it.
In a letter delivered to Carcieri's office, about 50 representatives of community groups, lawmakers and others argued that the order will discourage illegal immigrants from reporting crimes and will be unfair to all immigrants because of racial profiling and flaws in a Department of Homeland Security database used to verify people's legal status in the country.
Carcieri's order requires state agencies and companies that do business with the state to verify the legal status of employees using E-Verify, a database run by the Department of Homeland Security. It also directs the Rhode Island State Police and prison and parole officials to more aggressively find and deport illegal immigrants.
Carcieri orders statewide immigration effort
Providence Business News, 3/29/08
PROVIDENCE – An executive order signed today by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri directs the R.I. State Police, Department of Corrections and Parole Board to work more closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to combat illegal immigration.
And among other provisions, the order requires all state vendors and contractors to verify the legal status of employees, using the federal E-Verify program; the R.I. Department of Administration is required, and other state agencies encouraged, to use E-Verify as well. It also calls on the state to inform people who are victims of identity theft.
Lawmakers: R.I. governor to target illegal immigrants
By Ray Henry for the AP, 3/26/08
PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Gov. Don Carcieri plans to sign an executive order Thursday forcing prison officials and state police to identify illegal immigrants in state custody and requiring that state agencies take other steps to penalize immigration violators, a lawmaker said Wednesday.
more stories like thisCarcieri's office did not immediately release details of the order, but the governor's spokeswoman, Barbara Trainor, said it would cover "several bases."
A written statement from Carcieri's office said there is a growing number of illegal immigrants, and the federal government is not taking action. It said the Republican governor will also endorse legislation that has been introduced in the Democratic-dominated General Assembly that will accomplish the same goal.
Assembly Readies For Immigration Fight
Turn to Ten, 2/28/08
PROVIDENCE -- The General Assembly is about to take up the hot button issue of immigration, legal and illegal, in Rhode Island.
Lawmakers who want protections for immigrants filed bills that would allow anyone to apply for a driver's license and go to school regardless of immigration status.
"We've seen in other states where the immigrant population, including the undocumented, has a net benefit to the communities that they reside in," state Sen. Juan Pichardo, D-Providence, said.
Opponents said protection is not the issue, reform is.
Immigration is an investment in America’s future
By Dr. Pablo Rodriguez for the Providence Business News, 2/25/08
There is no doubt that illegal immigration into the US is not in anyone’s best interests. Thousands have died trying to get here through an increasingly militarized gauntlet of criminals,..
He crossed the U.S. border, into the maw of a machine
By KAREN LEE ZINER for the Providence Journal, 2/17/08
Leonardo Cos Elias arrived illegally in America with the sweat-and-blood skills of a subsistence farmer. In his native Guatemala, he raised maize and beans in the highlands and traveled south to chop sugar cane. He could wield a machete but not a pen: he never learned to read or write in either Ki’ché — his indigenous Mayan dialect — or in any other language.
The 32-year-old thus joined the ranks of Hispanic immigrants across the country — legal and illegal — whose injury and fatality rates rank higher than other populations, particularly in construction and agricultural work. Safety advocates say language and cultural barriers often impede training.
Traffic stops net arrests
By Vinaya Saksena for the Pawtucket Times, 12/27/07
CUMBERLAND- Three men were arrested in two separate traffic stops by the Cumberland Police Department this weekend, with two of them facing charges of being in the county illegally, according to police.
The first two arrests were made Friday afternoon after police allegedly found the two men traveling in a car drinking Corona beer. The driver, identified as Caesar Camacho-Tovar of Central Falls, was charged with driving without a license, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, improper use of a registration and no proof of insurance. The passenger, identified as 26-year-old Antonio Martinez, also of Central Falls, was charged with obstructing an officer in the line of duty, identity fraud, illegally re-entering after deportation and giving a false document to an officer.
On Saturday night, police arrested 30-year-old Rolando Garcia of 808 Broad Street, Central Falls, after allegedly witnessing his vehicle traveling erratically on Broad Street in Cumberland. Officer Jonathan Cook reportedly stopped his vehicle after allegedly witnessing it veer into the opposite lane repeatedly. Garcia was charged with possession of an open container of alcohol while riding in a motor vehicle, lack of lights at times when required, laned roadway violations, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first offense, BAC of .15 or greater, identity fraud, giving a false document to an officer, illegal re-entry after deportation and obstructing an officer in execution of duty.
Immigration raid substitutes for a comprehensive policy
By IAN DONNIS for the Phoenix, 3/14/07
The divisions couldn’t have been any clearer as immigrants’ advocates and critics of illegal immigration seized on last week’s federal raid in New Bedford.
To the advocates, the way in which the bust separated children from parents and caretakers was cruel, excessive, and far harsher than the treatment afforded the employer who is alleged to have enforced sweatshop-like conditions. Critics, who delighted in the clampdown, questioned why the other side can’t comprehend that illegal immigration is a crime in and of itself.
The irony is that both sides bring opposite viewpoints, yet basically agree on how the federal government’s immigration policy clearly isn’t working.