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Protesters Target Kilmartin Immigration Policies

From the Providence Journal: "20 stage Kilmartin protest at RWU fundraising event" by Richard C. Dujardin, Journal Staff Writer:

PROVIDENCE, February 6, 2011: A protest staged by the Olneyville Neighborhood Association against Attorney General Peter Kilmartin [RWU Law '98]’s decision to have law enforcement agencies cooperate with immigration and customs officials to help identify criminals who are illegal immigrants drew about 20 people Friday to the sidewalk outside the Peerless Building, where Roger Williams University was holding its Public Interest Law fundraiser.

Activist Wil Lambek said the group decided to protest after learning that Kilmartin was planning to be there to auction off a lunch with himself.

He said the protesters were not against the fundraiser but wanted to show their opposition to Kilmartin’s signing on to the Secure Communities program, which calls on the police to forward to federal immigration officials the fingerprints of people they arrest so federal agents can ascertain whether the suspects are illegal immigrants.

“We believe it’s a step backward for the state,” said Lambek, arguing that the agreement undercuts Governor Chafee’s decision to rescind former Gov. Donald L. Carcieri’s executive order requiring state agencies and firms doing business with the state to use an E-Verify system to determine whether the people they hire are in the country legally.

Lambek said, “Our neighborhood has long been a home to immigrants, and we see the agreement as an attack on us all.”

About 300 people attended the school’s public-interest fundraiser. University spokesman Michael Bowden said the fundraiser helps provide stipends to law students planning to work during the summer with nonprofit groups. He said the law school has been holding discussions over the last couple of days on the Secure Communities program, with some students siding with Kilmartin’s position and some students opposing it.

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