Rhode Island State Representatives Carlos Tobon and Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, members of the Rhode Island Legislative Black and Latino Caucus (RILBLC), joined legislative Hispanic caucuses from across the country yesterday as part of a national effort to urge Congress to quickly pass The Dream Act which would protect undocumented children since President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Tobon (Democrat, District 58, Pawtucket), condemned a recently signed law from the Texas legislature, SB4, which is a severe crackdown on “sanctuary cities.” SB4 has been halted by a federal judge pending review.*
“We are all committed to prevent similar harmful legislation in our respective states with the launch of the Not in My State Campaign,” said Tobon, “while advancing smart solutions that inclusive environments and safe communities. We stand with countless community and business partners in opposition to this wave of anti-immigrant policies.”
I asked about the three bills, recently cited by the ACLU of Rhode Island, that would go some way towards protecting immigrants in Rhode Island. Would the RILBLC be looking to revive and pass these bills in the special legislative session starting next week?
“We are exploring every possibility to get something in,” said Tobon, “Unfortunately, because of the recent- This being so recent, we don’t want to address this in such a fast manner that we don’t address this properly. So what we want to do is make sure that we begin this conversation with the members of both chambers, let them know the importance of this, and if we could come to a- not just an understanding but a reasonable approach that makes sense for everybody and most importantly protects DACA youth and their families.”
“It seems morally bankrupt that the Trump Administration could decide to throw [out the] 800,000 young people who are here for that dream, the dream that America offers,” said Ranglin-Vassell (Democrat, District 5, Providence). “We’re talking about families. We’re talking about children. We’re talking about people who have built their lives here.”
“We unfortunately have not had the chance to speak to Speaker [Nicholas] Mattiello yet,” said Tobon. “But we have set some time aside for the coming days to begin to address this and we’d love to have something in by next week but we don’t want to rush something because it needs to be comprehensive. It needs to be approached in a delicate manner. We’re talking about the lives of a lot of people here.”
“We’re going to do everything that is humanly possible to make sure that DACA recipients are protected,” said Ranglin-Vassell. “Whatever we need to do… are we going to draft legislation in the future? Of course in the future we will… DACA recipients in Rhode Island can rest assured that Rhode Island stands with them.
*Manny Fernandez, in the New York Times, writes, “The law, known as Senate Bill 4 or S.B. 4, prohibits cities and counties from adopting policies that limit immigration enforcement, allows police officers to question the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest and threatens officials who violate the law with fines, jail time and removal from office. It also directs local officials to cooperate with so-called immigration detainer requests, which allow foreign-born detainees to be transferred to federal custody after they are released from state or local custody.”