Rhode Island Governor's Executive Order Steps Up Illegal Immigration Fight
Friday, March 28, 2008
Linking the presence of undocumented workers to Rhode Island's financial woes, Gov. Don Carcieri signed an executive order that includes a series of steps to combat illegal immigration.
The order signed Thursday requires state agencies and companies that do business with the state to verify the legal status of employees. It also directs the Rhode Island State Police and prison and parole officials to more aggressively find and deport illegal immigrants.
The Republican governor said he understands that illegal immigrants face hardships — but he does not want them in Rhode Island, America's smallest state. "If you're here illegally, you shouldn't be here illegally. You shouldn't be here," Carcieri said.
Under his order, state police will enter an agreement with federal immigration authorities permitting them access to specialized immigration databases. That information would allow police to identify and detain immigration violators.
State police could investigate the legal status of anyone they suspect is an immigration violator, including crime victims, witnesses and people supplying police with confidential tips, state police Maj. Steven O'Donnell said.
Department of Corrections Director A.T. Wall said the prison system will negotiate a similar agreement so it too can identify illegal immigrants in state custody as well as legal immigrants who are subject to deportation if convicted of crimes.
Carcieri said he supported legislation that would force all companies in Rhode Island to do the same. He said he did not know how much his initiatives would cost, although he assumed they would save money in the long run.
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