Fung Ducks DACA, Other GOP Gov Candidates Support Trump

Wednesday, September 06, 2017


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Cranston Mayor Allan Fung

While Rhode Island's Democratic delegation and other state leaders blasted President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday for rescinding DACA -- the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy created by former President Barack Obama -- potential Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial candidates stood by Trump's decision.

Cranston Republican Mayor and former Gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung, however, did not respond to request for comment on the move by Trump to reverse the executive order put forth by Obama, to provide legal protections to those immigrant children brought into the country illegally by their parents. 

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo spoke at the state Democratic Party's press event in Central Falls on Tuesday, and issued the following statement.

"President Trump's plan to end DACA is nothing short of cruel, and could mean a $61.1 million hit to Rhode Island's economy," said Raimondo. "As long as I am the Governor of this state, Rhode Island will stand up for the American dream, and the Dreamers who keep it alive." 

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker said he criticized Trump's tactics -- but like Rhode Island Republican gubernatorial hopefuls said he hoped that Congress would in fact take up the issue in the six months before the program expires. 

RI GOP Gubernatorial Hopefuls Weigh-In

"Do I agree with the Trump Administration's decision on DACA? Actually, I do," said Rhode Island House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan, who announced in July that she was "exploring" a run for Governor.  "I think those young people have been put in a bad position. It's a political football -- they haven't done anything wrong."

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House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan

Morgan said she believed states that were already looking to stop DACA were going to be successful.  "I think it was going to end up being reversed [anyway]," said Morgan, of the executive - and non-binding - order from the Obama administration. 

Following Tuesday's announcement, Morgan, like other GOP gubernatorial hopefuls, said she believed the issue now rests with where it is meant to, and that is Congress. 

"Again, these young people, they did nothing wrong. They don't know other countries besides the U.S.  They've got jobs [here], schools," said Morgan of the roughly 800,000 "dreamers" under the DACA program who have been allowed to stay in the country -- until now.  "But either way, for it to be legal for these young people to have firm ground under their feet, one way or the other, [DACA] was going to be overturned. It's up to Congress to act."

Former State Representative and honorary state Trump campaign chair Joe Trillo, who is also a GOP gubenatorial "hopeful," said he agrees with the President's approach. 

"I hope that children won't be deported, that's my first statement. They've become productive citizens," said Trillo.  "But I'm happy. Trump made a campaign promise -- he made the promise and left it on Congress."

"He's opened the door," said Trillo.  "I think it was a smart move on his part. Congress has the ability to change it. So let them change it."

BENRUS CEO and former State Senator Giovanni Feroce - who had been an outspoke supporter of Marco Rubio during the 2016 Republican Presidential primary -- similarly said he viewed the Trump administration's pronouncement as necessary. 

"The fact is, it needs to be dealt with on a large scale, with proactive policy that incorporates where we are as a nation," said Feroce. "Previous efforts were met with resistance from the Republican side, because it was premature as the issue of the day."

"So here we are a few years later, and we have to deal with it now," said Feroce. "At this point, I have to admit, although the headlines make it look like Trump's doing this or doing that, he's actually handing it Congress and [telling them] come up with a comprehensive plan."

"When you have momentary policies, you end up with what we have today, which is an expiration date," said Feroce. "I can understand it's upsetting, but sit tight, and Congress will deal with it.  Emotions shouldn't run the day -- real leadership should."


Related Slideshow: RI Leaders React to Trump Calling for DACA Phaseout

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Jack Reed

United States Senator (D-RI)

“President Trump’s priorities are backwards. He stands behind divisive figures like Joe Arpaio, but shows no compassion for bright, hardworking kids. The President’s policy could split up families, hurt our economy, and send children who’ve been living and studying here away to countries they have never known. 

In essence, the President is setting deportation dates for 800,000 young people who have pursued an education, contributed to their communities, and stayed out of trouble.  Some of these young Americans are serving honorably in our Armed Forces and may now be thrust into legal limbo.    

President Trump’s heartless decision to revoke DACA is a moral, humanitarian, and economic failure on his part.  Rescinding DACA this way is not about the rule of law, it is about President Trump pandering to an extreme viewpoint.  The fact that President Trump was unwilling to make this announcement himself is an acknowledgment that this is about appeasing his most virulent and vocal voters, not leading the greatest country in the world.

There are also real economic consequences to revoking DACA. The Center for American Progress estimates that terminating DACA and removing unauthorized workers could cost the United States about $460 billion in economic growth over the next decade.  There is no good economic argument for this action. 

As I’ve long said, we need comprehensive and realistic immigration reform legislation.  We should show compassion for Dreamers and work toward immigration policies that strengthen our nation and help our economy grow.  In the wake of the President’s failure, Congress should also act on a bipartisan basis to create a pathway to citizenship for young people who were brought here by their parents as children and continue making meaningful contributions to our country.  I believe the Senate can do so, but I’m concerned that the House will fail to act.”

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Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senator (D-RI)

“This decision is shameful and cruel. These are children of our nation who had no say in coming here.  They’ve studied diligently and worked hard to make a better future for themselves and their families. They’ve given back to their communities. This program takes those contributions into account and grants well-earned peace of mind. 

Throughout my time in the Senate, I’ve pushed for a comprehensive plan to fix our immigration system. That plan should secure our borders and establish a tough process for those here illegally to get right by the law.  But it must treat people – especially children – humanely. 

Unraveling this program confronts none of the major problems with our immigration system.  Instead, the President is breaking apart families and bruising our economy.  And, on the heels of Charlottesville, he is signaling to champions of hate and bigotry that their voices matter most.”

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David Cicilline

United States Congressman (D-RI)

“This is a shameful moment for our country. America has always stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity. But not today.

Dreamers were brought here as young children. They love this country. They share our values. They are contributing to their communities every day.”

What President Trump just did is despicable and cruel. Every Republican should not only be speaking out against this President today, but they should immediately bring legislation to the House floor to right this wrong.

Make no mistake, until they back up their words with actions, Republicans are giving Donald Trump a blank check to put his hateful ideas into action.”

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Jim Langevin

United States Congressman (D-RI)

“Today marks a sad chapter in our country’s history. President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is a victory for anti-immigrant ideologues and further evidence of his Administration’s general lack of empathy. DACA participants are not criminals. Their average age of immigration to the U.S. is six and half years old, and it would be a miscarriage of justice for us to punish them for their parents’ decisions.

Implementing today’s executive action will cause devastation to youth who are active members of Rhode Island’s communities and who strive for a better future. DACA recipients work, go to school, contribute to our economy, and serve in our military. They should not live in fear of deportation, rather they should be embraced as patriotic individuals who have always considered America their home.

During the next six months, I will do everything in my power to protect DACA recipients from the Administration’s cruel actions and to find a permanent legislative solution to fix our broken immigration system compassionately and effectively.”

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Aaron Regunberg

Rhode Island State Representative 

"DACA represented an opportunity for hundreds of thousands of young people to step out from the shadows and legally work and study in the country they have always called home. All of us have been elevated by their talents, and as a result, our communities, economy, and schools became stronger.

Though DACA may end, here in Rhode Island we must commit even more deeply to protecting our neighbors, our colleagues, and our classmates. We in the General Assembly should reconsider and pass the Trust Act to prevent ICE from compelling local law enforcement to enforce immigration orders that fall outside of their formal jurisdiction and responsibilities.

Dreamers represent the best of the American spirit and we can't let that spirit be diminished here in our state."

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Steve Brown

Executive Director, RI ACLU

"With today’s announcement, the federal government has thrown the lives and futures of thousands of young immigrants and their families into disarray. In Rhode Island alone, more than 1000 people, brought to this country as children by their parents, have used their DACA status to give back to our communities.  These young people – doctors, soldiers and students - know this country as their home, and now their fate hangs in the balance.

This is a hard day for the immigrant community, for Rhode Island, and for the nation as a whole.  But we must continue to fight for the futures of these Americans and to hold those responsible for this injustice accountable.”

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Keith Oliveira

Executive Director, RI League of Charter Schools

"The R.I. League of Charter Schools stands with other Rhode Island leaders in expressing our outrage over President Trump’s decision to repeal D.A.C.A. Our charter public schools enroll Dreamers across Rhode Island and we stand with them and their families against this misguided and hurtful decision.

"It is unfortunate that the Trump administration continues to pursue such hurtful policies that serve only to divide our nation. We are calling on our state’s Congressional Delegation, and all of Congress, to remedy this situation and pass a permanent solution for our young people who only desire to pursue their American dream by contributing to the greatness of our state and this nation.”       

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Gina Raimondo

Rhode Island Governor

"Rhode Island was founded on the values of tolerance and diversity. Throughout our history, our state has been strengthened by the contributions of immigrants. Thanks to DACA, 1,200 young people have come forward, passed background checks, and now live and work legally in Rhode Island. For many of these Dreamers, the United States is the only home they've ever known. President Trump's plan to end DACA is nothing short of cruel, and could mean a $61.1 million hit to Rhode Island's economy. As long as I am the Governor of this state, Rhode Island will stand up for the American dream, and the Dreamers who keep it alive." 


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Prov City Council

"The White House administration announced today that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be phased out over time.

This critical program prevents deportation of young people who come to the United States of America and strive for a better future.

As elected officials and community advocates, we firmly believe that these youths deserve a chance to pursue their dreams in our country. We will advocate for them today and every day throughout this process."


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