Immigration bill could thwart Mayor Elorza’s pledge

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza addresses reporters at a news conference on community policing, April 30, 2015. (Photo by Susan Campbell, WPRI-TV)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A bill introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly could thwart Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza’s pledge to protect city residents who are in the country illegally from being turned over to federal agents for minor violations.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare (pah-REE’) says the legislation would impede city police. He plans to work to defeat it.

A group of Democratic lawmakers who represent suburbs surrounding Providence introduced the bill that targets so-called sanctuary cities.

It would create a governmental duty to investigate immigration violations. New civil and criminal penalties could punish officials who don’t cooperate.

North Providence Democratic Rep. Arthur Corvese says his bill isn’t specifically aimed at Elorza, a fellow Democrat. Corvese introduced similar legislation last year, but it was held for further study.

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