Fingerprinting Leads to Deportations in Rhode Island

Since Rhode Island instituted the Secure Communities program last March, 14 immigrants have been deported after being arrested for crimes ranging from misdemeanors to violent offenses and child molestation, The Associated Press reports.

Under the Secure Communities program, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reviews fingerprints of arrested individuals to check citizenship status. Nine of the 14 unauthorized immigrants ICE has deported from Rhode Island were arrested for minor offenses and had no prior criminal history, according to the AP. Three deportees had prior misdemeanor convictions, and two had histories of violent crime.

In addition to the 14 deportations, dozens of Rhode Island residents have entered the ICE system as the result of the Secure Communities program, the source reports. Of these, 48 have no serious criminal record and 42 do, including four people with previous felony convictions.

Camilo Viveiros, executive director of a Rhode Island immigrant rights organization, told the AP that prior law already ensured violent non-citizen criminals face deportation, so Secure Communities does not substantially improve community safety.

Rhode Island immigrant rights groups that have opposed the Secure Communities program will have reason to be happy, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will hold a naturalization ceremony for 50 new citizens in Rhode Island on August 15.