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Attorney General-Elect Kilmartin Meets with DHS and ICE on Secure Communities Initiative
Published on: Dec 21, 2010

Attorney General-Elect Peter F. Kilmartin met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today to discuss implementation of the Secure Communities program, which is aimed at cracking down on criminal activity in the Ocean State. Members of the Rhode Island State Police and local law enforcement also attended the briefing.

“In an effort to further protect Rhode Island families, we need to ensure that our state is utilizing resources that the federal government has at their disposal aimed at stopping illegal activity,” said Attorney General-Elect Kilmartin. “Secure Communities is an initiative that has a track record of enhancing the safety of neighborhoods across the United States. Therefore, I look forward to signing onto this program as Attorney General – which will help move our state towards a more secure future.”

The Secure Communities program improves and modernizes the identification and removal of criminal aliens from the United States, according to ICE. It does so by enabling criminal fingerprints submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) biometric system to be checked against the DHS biometric system as well. Through this system, because fingerprints are checked at the time of booking, after a lawful arrest, ICE can identify illegal immigrants early in the process and initiate immigration enforcement action.

“The Secure Communities strategy provides ICE with an effective tool to identify criminal aliens in local custody,” said Secure Communities Assistant Director David Venturella. “Enhancing public safety is at the core of ICE's mission. Our goal is to use biometric information sharing to remove criminal aliens, preventing them from being released back into the community, with little or no additional burden on our law enforcement partners.”

Leroy Rose, Captain of the Rhode Island State Police, added: “Secure Communities, which is a post-arrest initiative, represents a practical approach to dealing with criminals in our state.”

Attorney General-Elect Kilmartin plans to sign onto the Secure Communities initiative in early January 2011. With the Secure Communities program, there is no change to state and local law enforcement’s current daily operations. Their role is to continue enforcing their state or local law the way they always have. Local law enforcement does not take a federal immigration enforcement role with Secure Communities. In fact, Secure Communities does not authorize, or permit, state or local law enforcement officers to enforce immigration law – ICE retains authority.

Joseph P. Moran II, President of the Police Chief’s Association, who was also in attendance at the meeting, stated: “With Secure Communities, we’re not knocking on doors to go after the illegal immigrant population, we’re simply dealing with the criminal element by coordinating with DHS and ICE to keep Rhode Island communities safe from crime.”