Rhode Island JwJ Wins Victory Against Anti-Immigrant "Secure Communities"

By Camilo Viveiros, on January 11th, 2011

Earlier this month, Rhode Island Jobs with Justice won a great victory with our new Governor Chaffee rescinding the anti-immigrant executive order by the former Governor to implement Secure Communities—which would open the doors for local law enforcement to turn over immigrant records to ICE. But we still need to defeat attempts by the Attorney General to put it into operation!
Our New Attorney General Kilmartin (who had strong Labor support) is still pushing for the police to implement the policy. There is still some confusion about whether or not particular police departments can opt out, and we have heard opposing opinions from the Rhode Island ACLU and others.
Rhode Island JwJ and Rhode Island JwJ members (including the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, English for Action, and FL) pushed hard to get Chafee (and all gubernatorial candidates) to to commit to rescinding the former Governors’ anti-immigrant executive order. Rhode Island JwJ specifically worked with many unions who endorsed Chafee to firm up his commitment, including SEIU 615, which is comprised of mostly immigrant workers doing janitorial work. Rhode Island JwJ and Ocean State Action spent months educating and mobilizing Latino voters around this issue.
We will monitor the next step needed, a clear communication to police agencies, in order to rescind the remaining Secure Communities aspects of the executive order.
Last week, RI JwJ followed up the Governor’s press conference announcing the change with an action at Attorney General Kilmartin’s offices.  We sent the message that this is only to first action that we will take against any efforts to bring secure communities to Rhode Island.  Secure Communities will not be implemented without a fight.

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