Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is joining with counterparts in other states to sue the federal government over the end of the DACA program. The U.S. Justice Department announced Tuesday that it would end the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The program, implemented in 2012, allowed undocumented residents brought to the country as children to defer deportation.
Kilmartin announced his participation in the lawsuit alongside state and local lawmakers, who chastised the White House for deciding to end the program.
Governor Gina Raimondo voiced her support for DACA recipients living in the Ocean State.
“These are our friends and our neighbors,” said Raimondo. “These are fellow Rhode Islanders. So as your governor, I say today we stand behind our dreamers. We’re going to support them. We’re going to keep our doors open to them. Our schools open to them. Our communities open to them.”
She rebuked President Donald Trump and lawmakers who support rescinding DACA, in the hours following the announcement.
“Their policies of hate and cruelty and divisiveness aren’t going to be tolerated in our country and in our state,” said Raimondo. Let’s push back on this. And in these times of difficulty reaffirm ourselves to these values.
Raimondo said she’s already talking with lawyers to determine what protection the state can provide DACA recipients. She said it remains unclear what power state and municipal government could have to shield DACA recipients from deportation.
Critics of DACA say it was federal overreach because it was implemented by President Barack Obama with an executive order. More than a thousand people using Rhode Island addresses and nearly 9,000 people using addresses in Massachusetts have received initial grants of DACA protection from deportation.