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Kilmartin, RI officials vow to fight Trump's order to end DACA program

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said he’ll fight President Donald Trump’s order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. (WJAR) 

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said he’ll fight President Donald Trump’s order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program.

“I, the attorney general, am going to join with other like-minded attorneys general to legally challenge President Trump's order today,” Kilmartin said Tuesday during a news conference at the Segue Institute for Learning in Central Falls.

Javier Juarez and Rodrigo Pimentel are two of the 1,229 Dreamers living in Rhode Island.

“DACA gave me the courage to dream big,” said Juarez, 28, who moved to Rhode Island with his family when he was 10 years old. He said he had to take jobs “under the table” in order to save enough money to go to Rhode Island College.

Gov. Gina Raimondo, alongside much of her administration, reiterated her support for Dreamers and called on Congress to act.

“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 and we want them to know that there's a place in Rhode Island for everybody,” she said.

DACA recipients are registered with the federal government. NBC 10 News spoke with local dreamers who said they don't regret coming out of the shadows, but worry about what happens next.

“I am a bit fearful now that the government has our information, but I'm also hopeful. I'm hopeful that Americans will stand up together with DACA recipients -- that in these six months we will pressure Congress to pass the Dream Act, that we will be able to pass it, and that DACA recipients are going to walk out from this fight as Americans,” Pimentel said.

When asked about obtaining citizenship, Juarez and Pimentel said it's a complicated process.

“People just believe, ‘Hey, why don't you just apply for citizenship, right?’ Well, it's not that easy. It’s not cheap, either,” Juarez said.

Pimentel shared similar sentiments.

“Most people actually become legal via family sponsorship. But my family came here. My parents came here,” he said. “I have no other immediate family, so my parents can't get sponsorships nor can I.”

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