Governor Gina Raimondo has been clear, said Gabe Amo, her director of public engagement. She will protect every Rhode Islander, including the undocumented, and fight the Trump Administration if it tries to withhold federal funds for doing so, Amo said.
But at least 25 people representing Indivisible Rhode Island disagree. They say Raimondo had one message for the throngs of people who gathered at the State House two weeks ago to rally for the rights of immigrants, refugees and the undocumented, and a different message for WGBH two days later, when she said she wouldn’t risk losing federal funding over the matter.
Indivisible RI and Amo tried to hash out their differing opinions of Raimondo’s position in the State Room of the State House on Tuesday afternoon. The group came to protest Raimondo, and get a clear answer where she stands on protecting the undocumented workers in Rhode Island. In her absence, the governor’s office sent Amo to answer to the activists.
“The inconsistency is hearing outside there at that immigration rally saying we’re all in this together and then two days later in a videotape on WGBH saying, to a question about fderal funds being withheld, her statement was ‘we have to be considerate,'” said one of the activists who came to the State House on Tuesday to get an answer.
Responded Amo, “I looked up the transcript. I think the governor’s point there is that 1) she doesn’t believe they have any authority to do this … and if that were the case, (she’s) going to do everything to fight for this federal funding. There’s nothing ambiguous in her statement.”
Later he added, “The governor has made a firm commitment to protect people and fight for funding. Those two things are not inconsistent. These are not separate concepts.”
An activist retorted, “They aren’t separate but they need to be prioritized. We need her to make it clear that it’s people first and then money.”
The activists asked Raimondo to publicly reaffirm her position. “We would like a public statement of her support because of this ambiguity that has come out,” said Jane Logan, an organizer for Indivisible RI.
Amo didn’t want to promise this, instead saying, “she has already made statements…”
But he was interrupted by Logan. “But we don’t agree,” she said. “Why can’t she be consistent in her message?”
Amo wouldn’t commit the governor to meeting with the group, but said he would look into it.