Wed May 26, 2010
RI lawmaker says he will re-introduce immigration bill next year
By Flo Jonic
Providence, R.I. – There are opposing reactions to news that House Speaker Gordon Fox will not let an Arizona-style anti-illegal immigration bill get a hearing.
State Rep. Peter Palumbo was the sponsor of the bill, which would have allowed police to question people they suspected of being illegal immigrants. He says he's "somewhat devastated" that Fox, an opponent of the bill, will not give it a hearing this year.
"When my colleagues saw how many people showed up with testimony, I was hoping for a miracle and maybe they would approve it," Palumbo says. "But at this time it's not going to happen because it won't even get a shot at a hearing."
Immigrants and their supporters, meantime, are declaring victory. They say a statehouse demonstration held last week was key in the bill's demise. Mary Kay Harris represents DARE - Direct Action for Rights and Equality.
"We want to say we have a victory because the people did not want to see that happen here," she says. "So we want to claim that as something good."
Palumbo says he will re-introduce the bill next year.