Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, along with the governors from seven other states, has signed onto a letter assuring Dreamers that she is ready to defend them from Trump Administration plans to end DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). DACA protects the nearly 800,000 young people who came to the United States as children and would otherwise be undocumented. These young people have stepped up, filled out paperwork and passed background checks to be part of this process. They are students, workers and small business owners.
The letter notes that though, “attorneys general from ten states threatened to sue the Trump Administration if it does not end DACA; twice that number wrote to encourage the administration to maintain and defend the initiative.”
“Rhode Island was founded on the principles of tolerance and diversity,” said Raimondo in a statement. “Those values mean nothing if we abandon them in times of difficulty. Dreamers are in our schools in every community. They are Rhode Islanders. As long as I am Governor, Rhode Island will stand with Dreamers and DACA recipients.”
Raimondo has joined with Governor Jerry Brown of California, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Daniel Malloy of Connecticut, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Kate Brown of Oregon, Jay Inslee of Washington, Terrence McAulifffe of Virginia and a host of other state leaders, leaders of cities and towns, civic leaders and faith leaders in recognizing the “enormous role” Dreamers play “in our communities and families and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.”
Other Rhode Islanders who signed on include Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, Kristine Frech, executive director of Teach For America Rhode Island, Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Bill Deware, state coordinator of the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats of America, Darlene Correia, founder of Take Back Your Life, Mary Pendergast, RSM of the Sisters of Mercy and Sisters Anne-Marie & Ellen Liston from the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny.
You can access the letter and all signatories here. Here’s the full text of the letter:
We, the undersigned governors, statewide constitutional officers, mayors, state legislators, local elected officials, law enforcement professionals, and faith and civic leaders are united in declaring that we are with Dreamers and DACA recipients. We recognize their enormous role in our communities and families and their contributions to our schools, workplaces, and shared prosperity as a nation.
Since June 2012, nearly 800,000 of these young people who came to the United States as children have come forward, passed background checks, and received permission to live and work in America. With DACA, they have advanced their education, started small businesses, and more fully established themselves as integral members of our society.
Ending DACA means all of these young people would be at risk of deportation and separation from their families and our communities; this would be senselessly cruel.
Ending DACA and removing hundreds of thousands of young men and women from our workforce also would cost the country an estimated $460.3 billion in lost Gross Domestic Product over a decade and tens of billions more in lost contributions to Medicare and Social Security, and force businesses to incur $3.4 billion in turnover costs.
In late June, attorneys general from ten states threatened to sue the Trump Administration if it does not end DACA; twice that number wrote to encourage the administration to maintain and defend the initiative. We urge President Trump to sustain his commitment and preserve DACA. We also encourage President Trump and Republicans and Democrats in Congress to enact legislation that replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers. The recently introduced stand-alone Dream Act of 2017 would do that and we support it.
As the leaders of communities across the country—individuals and institutions that have seen these young people grow up in our communities—we recognize how they have enriched and strengthened our cities, states, schools, businesses, congregations, and families. We believe it is a moral imperative that the administration and the country know we are with them. We also join together to send our assurances to Dreamers: we see you, we value you, and we are ready to defend you.