PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Members of a Jewish activist group were ready and willing to spend the night in the Rhode Island State House on Thursday to demand action on immigrant rights—but it didn’t come to that.
For months, members of Never Again Action Rhode Island have been protesting the state’s collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). They want to see the Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls closed, the ICE detainees being held there released, and legislation passed banning the operation of private, for-profit prisons.
On Thursday, activists constructed a sukkah—a traditional temporary shelter—inside the State House rotunda and planned to remain there until they got a response.
About a half-hour into the demonstration, Never Again Action member Aaron Regunberg announced that progress had been made and Gov. Gina Raimondo supports their push for a ban on private prisons.
“We were going to stay here celebrating sukkah until we got a response the demands we’ve been making for months and today, finally after months, we’ve gotten a response,” Regunberg said.
Raimondo later released a statement confirming her stance, saying this is a “moral and deeply personal issue for many Rhode Island families.”
“I had the opportunity earlier today to meet with the local groups leading this movement, and I appreciate their activism and passion,” she continued. “President Trump’s actions on immigration are inhumane and immoral, and I stand with Rhode Islanders in opposing his policies. I would support legislation from the General Assembly that prohibits private prisons in Rhode Island.”
Regunberg said there’s still more to do and Never Again will now turn to legislative leaders to make their demands a reality.