2018-03-08 / Letters to the Editor

Town needs law to protect immigrants

To the editor:

In March 2017, the Jamestown Town Council passed a resolution supporting state legislation that would set statewide policy and procedures to guide how law enforcement agencies interact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. However, the proposed bill never made it out of committee.

As members of Conanicut Sanctuary, we are petitioning our town council to pass an ordinance with such policies. A similar ordinance was passed by South Kingstown in October and the state police follow similar guidelines. Here is why we believe the Jamestown Town Council should follow suit: n The majority of undocumented immigrants are peaceful, productive, and law-abiding members of their communities. n Violation of immigration law is a civil offense, not a crime. n We are especially concerned that DACA recipients (Dreamers) have become subject to deportation, and temporary protected status recipients, who have lived here for many years or even decades, are now being denied any opportunity to apply for more permanent immigration status. n We believe we must protect law-abiding immigrants from unjust treatment. n Enforcing immigration law is a federal responsibility, not a state or local responsibility. n Deputizing local law enforcement agencies to enforce civil immigration law takes our local police away from investigating crime and uses up their limited resources. n Many police departments report that when immigrants fear deportation, they will not report crimes they are victims of, or have witnessed, making law enforcement more difficult.

Milene Cormier
Clinton Avenue

Helen O’Grady
Schooner Avenue

Keith Stavely
Capstan Street

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