AP, June 24, 2008
Gov. Don Carcieri pointed a finger Tuesday at Providence Mayor David Cicilline, saying the city’s lax attitude toward illegal immigrants is partly to blame for the alleged rape of a woman by an illegal immigrant.
The governor told WPRO-AM that city police had an opportunity to help federal officials deport Marco Riz when he was arrested twice last year while under a federal deportation order. Riz was charged earlier this month with allegedly carjacking a woman in a Warwick parking lot, then driving her to a Providence park and raping her.
Both times Riz was arrested last year, Providence police faxed his name to immigration authorities as part of their standard procedures, but federal officials failed to take him into custody, Cicilline said.
Carcieri has widely criticized Cicilline’s administration for refusing to require city police to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation. City officials have said local law enforcement should not be responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws.
Carcieri said Monday that Providence police should have used a computerized database to check Riz’s immigration status. If Providence police worked more closely with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “this man might have been taken off the streets,” he said.
Federal officials asked Providence police to switch to the computerized system in April, seven months after Riz’s second arrest in Providence. Cicilline said police officials are considering the request.
Carcieri signed an executive order in March cracking down on illegal immigrants. The order requires state agencies and companies doing business with the state to use a federal database to verify the immigration status of new employees. It also forces state police and prison officials to identify illegal immigrants for possible deportation.
Carcieri asked local police departments to take similar steps, but Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman refused. He said the governor’s order could deter illegal immigrants who witness or are victimized by crime from contacting police.