Groups ask Rhode Island leaders to protect immigrants

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Thirteen Rhode Island nonprofit organizations are asking state leaders to do more to protect immigrant communities from the policies of Republican President Donald Trump.

A coalition sent letters Tuesday to Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo, Democratic Attorney General Peter Kilmartin and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell.

The groups are asking Raimondo to issue an executive order that would limit the state’s collaboration with federal immigration enforcement officials. They’re also asking Suttell and Kilmartin to join counterparts in other states calling for a halt to federal immigration arrests in or near state courthouses.

A spokesman for Suttell says he’s looking into it but isn’t aware of any federal immigration enforcement actions that have happened at Rhode Island courthouses.

Raimondo didn’t immediately return requests for comment Tuesday, but a spokesperson for Kilmartin released a statement saying he intends to work with his colleagues to challenge Trump’s policies.

“Attorney General Kilmartin has been working, and continues to work, closely with his colleagues across the country in challenging the President’s Executive Order on immigration and how to best and most effectively address the issues raised in the letter. Further, as the letter rightfully points out, the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island has ruled that a federal ICE detainer is not sufficient by itself to detain an individual for the federal authorities. With the ruling, that policy represents the law of this jurisdiction.”

“It has been the long-standing position of Attorney General Kilmartin that victims of crimes, or witnesses to crimes, should never fear coming forward to report the crime to law enforcement. They are victims, regardless of their immigration status, and will be treated with the dignity and respect that all victims of crime deserve. However, those who commit a crime while in this country illegally should not be allowed to remain in the country.”