With the news that President Trump is expected to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, putting approximately 800,000 children at risk for deportation, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin condemned the move, calling it "heartless" and "immoral."
"DACA children have known nothing else but this country as their home, they contribute greatly to the fabric of our community, and they deserve our protection from any attempt to undermine their rights as residents," said Kilmartin. "This is one of the most heartless and immoral decisions the President has made yet. We are a nation built on the contributions of our many immigrant populations, and we are a stronger nation because of those contributions. Now the President is turning his back on children who have so much to give to this country. We cannot sit idly by as he strips DACA grantees the rights they have been afforded and deserve."
Attorney General Kilmartin and his colleagues from 19 other states had previously urged the President to keep his campaign promise and defend DACA. In a letter to the President last month, the attorneys general wrote, "You said Dreamers should 'rest easy.' We urge you to affirm America's values and tradition as a nation of immigrants and make clear that you will not only continue DACA, but that you will defend it. The cost of not doing so would be too high for America, the economy, and for these young people. For these reasons, we urge you to maintain and defend DACA, and we stand in support of the effort to defend DACA by all appropriate means."
Attorney General Kilmartin is working with the same coalition of states to determine what steps they can take to legally defend DACA.
"As the chief law enforcement officers in our respective states, our priority is to protect and get justice for victims. When a victim walks into our office, we don't see 'legal' or 'illegal.' We only see a victim, and we do our very best to make sure that victim is protected from harm, is treated with respect and dignity, and ultimately get justice for them," added Kilmartin. "Ending DACA will have a chilling effect on the entire immigrant community, but especially victims of crimes, who may fear that coming forward will lead to deportation. I want to make sure that the immigrant community here in Rhode Island understands and can trust that they are safe coming forward to report a crime. We will do our very best to protect them from those who caused them harm and from this President."