Strong Commitments from Gubernatorial Candidates on Immigrants’ Rights Issues

Banners representing the organizations who are part of the Todos Somos Arizona Coalition
Banners representing the organizations who are part of the Todos Somos Arizona Coalition

On Sunday, June 22, the immigrants’ rights coalition Todos Somos Arizona (We Are All Arizona) held a gubernatorial candidates forum.

As a member of the We Are All Arizona coalition, RI Jobs With Justice has worked with labor and community partners to call for Rhode Island judicial authorities to stop handing people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement without probable cause or due process, a practice known as an ICE Detainer Request.

The forum featured Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo, and Angel Tavares, all Democratic candidates for the office of Rhode Island governor. At the forum, community representatives asked the candidates two key questions about immigrants’ rights: if the candidates support drivers’ licenses for all Rhode Island residents, and if they would end ICE holds in the state as governor.

After responding to community members’ questions orally, the candidates each signed cards committing to the following actions that they would take if elected governor of RI.

The first question posed by a community was: Will you commit to passing an executive order within 15 days of in office as governor that would grant 1) the same driver’s licenses for everybody 2) where the individuals can use their ITIN instead of their Social Security Number 3) without additional requirements? Angel Tavares and Clay Pell both agreed to all of the conditions of the question. Gina Raimondo agreed to the conditions for obtaining licenses, but promised to pass an executive order within the first year in office rather than within the first 15 days.

After this question, another community member asked the candidates: Will you commit to passing an executive order within the 15 days of taking office as governor assuring that no state governmental agency submits to an ICE Detainer Request without a judicial order? Only Angel Taveras agreed to this question, with both Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell changing the wording on the cards to reflect their different approaches to the issue of ICE detentions. On their respective cards Clay Pell wrote “I am committing to ‘working with state and federal authorities to change the current ICE detainer holds as a question of fundamental justice’” and Gina Raimondo wrote “I am committing to ‘ending Secure Communities and ICE Holds.’”

Jobs With Justice is a proud member of the coalition, working actively with Fuerza Laboral, the Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA), English for Action (EFA), the Committee for Immigrants in Action (CIA), and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

Videos from the candidates’ forum are posted on our YouTube account.