Morgan Supports Trump’s Citizenship Question on Census—Fung Refuses Comment

Thursday, March 29, 2018


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Rep. Morgan (left) and Cranston Mayor Fung (right) are in the RI Republican gubernatorial primary.

Rhode Island House Minority Leader and Republican gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan came out in strong support of the Trump administration placing a citizenship question on the 2020 census, after Rhode Island joined a dozen other states in a lawsuit this week questioning the legality of such an inquiry. 

Former Republican Rhode Island Trump chair-turned-independent candidate Joe Trillo also supported the move by Trump; Cranston Mayor and former GOP gubernatorial nominee Allan Fung's camp, however, declined multiple requests for comment. 

"The only folks outraged by this common sense addition to the census are radical democrat extremists and pretend Republicans like Allan Fung, who has openly supported amnesty as a city councilman," said Morgan campaign spokesperson Bryan Piligra.  "It's ludicrous that these same leaders after having neglected improving our hostile business climate and the resulting out-migration of so many working-age Rhode Islanders, are now alarmed that illegal immigrants will leave. Their political angst would be better spent on fixing the problems here."

Multiple requests for comment to Fung, the GOP nominee in 2014, went unanswered on Wednesday.

Trillo, Feroce on Record

Former Republican State Representative Joe Trillo -- the honorary Chairman for the Trump Rhode Island campaign in 2016, who is now running as an independent in the 2018 Governor's race -- said he supports the citizenship question.

"I think the majority of Rhode Island citizens see this for what it is: Just another effort by our governor and state leaders to circumvent and oppose federal immigration laws, all at taxpayer expense. The Rhode Island Attorney General is claiming that asking about citizenship violates the Constitution by causing fewer 'Rhode Islander' to be counted and will impact federal funding and policy making. I disagree and support asking it," said Trillo. "If our state leaders were really concerned about this, they would not be openly defying federal immigration laws and really risking federal funds. Who is in fact violating the constitution?"

"Unfortunately, illegal immigration and sanctuary status in RI are given priority over the concerns of citizens and our communities. These activities put additional strain on our schools, hospitals, and social services, while contributing to additional crime on our streets," said Trillo. "What we are seeing in California - outright lawlessness and defiance of federal laws on the part of public officials, is what is happening in Rhode Island, and the federal government will not sit idly by. I have stated from the beginning that I pledge to end our image of a sanctuary state if I am elected governor."

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Joe Trillo -- and Donald Trump

Potential Republican candidate Giovanni Feroce, who has filed paperwork but yet to make a formal campaign announcement, stopped short of support the Trump Administration position. 

"I will always do what's right for Rhode Island first and foremost.  Losing a congressional seat would seem counterproductive to having an important voice in Washington.  For practical purposes I would leave it untouched," said Ferorce.

"I do however believe that we need to address immigration immediately and I would hope Democrats would stop playing games and approve some of the Presidents proposed reforms, which offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as funding for a wall along the country’s southern border and additional security protections in the region," added Feroce. 

Dems, Former Dems, Support Suit

"Governor Raimondo believes it's wrong to play politics with a process as important as the census. This proposal only serves to intimidate Rhode Islanders and threaten the accuracy of the count, and the Governor is proud to join with states across the country and leaders across Rhode Island in fighting against this shameful scare tactic," said Raimondo spokesperson Josh Block. 

Former Democratic Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown, who announced he is "exploring" a run for Governor, supported the state's position as well. 

"AG Kilmartin is right to sue the Trump Administration to prevent a citizenship question from being included...the purpose of the census is to count every resident. Including a citizenship question will likely deter some residents from responding, resulting in an undercount of our residents, which would threaten our access to important federal funding and possibly lose us a seat in Congress," said Brown. "Including such a question may well be unconstitutional."

Democratic contender Paul Roselli said he is similarly opposed. 

"Rhode Island should be suing the Trump administration....seems that every day, states are suing the Trump administration over something, from air quality standards, automobile mileage standards, immigration and now the census," said Roselli. "This is just another attempt by the Trump administration to separate the country creating facetious divides."


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