Providence Journal - R.I. gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo blasting undocumented immigrants in new radio ad
The ad promises that independent gubernatorial candidate Joe Trillo will: “Untie the hands of our police and let them do their jobs ... Reduce the size of our government through attrition ... Cut taxes and reduce regulations that are killing our business[es] ... Listen to our teachers on how we can improve education.″
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Joe Trillo-for-governor campaign is headed to radio on Monday with a 60-second ad promising that Trillo — the man who co-chaired Donald Trump’s 2016 Rhode Island drive — will be the candidate who “will stop welcoming illegal immigrants to the state.″
The ad also promises that Trillo will: “Untie the hands of our police and let them do their jobs ... Reduce the size of our government through attrition ... Cut taxes and reduce regulations that are killing our business[es] ... Listen to our teachers on how we can improve education.″
And one more: “Strengthen the law for animal abuse.”
Trillo, a former Republican state lawmaker running for governor as an independent, scheduled the first airing of the ad days after hiring as his campaign manager Hal Rilling, who was Donald Trump’s 2016 state director in Rhode Island.
Capitol TV viewers will instantly recognize his voice from years of House floor debates in this 8-second clip: “We’re picking the pockets of every taxpayer in this state.”
The promise to commit himself, if elected, to shedding “the image of Rhode Island [as] being a sanctuary state,” is not a new issue for Trillo.
In the ad, scheduled to air first on WPRO radio, and in an opinion piece published in The Journal over the weekend, Trillo alleges that these undocumented immigrants are costing Rhode Island taxpayers $272 million, a number based on estimates by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors restricting immigration, that have proved difficult to verify.
But the ad — and the opinion piece — seek to draw a bold line of difference between Trillo and Gov. Gina Raimondo, the Democratic incumbent.
“Ending Rhode Island’s status as a sanctuary state is a key position of my platform, but it goes back long before I decided to run for governor,″ he wrote.
“Unfortunately, Gov. Gina Raimondo and other state officials continue to publicly denounce and refuse to enforce our federal immigration laws. Illegal immigration and sanctuary status are given priority over the concerns of citizens and our communities. These activities put additional strain on our schools, hospitals, and social services, while contributing to additional crime on our streets.”
“We have an administration in Washington that is serious about enforcing federal immigration laws, only to face open defiance on the part of a handful of states and elected officials who care more about pandering to illegal immigrants and special interests than protecting the citizens who put them in office,″ he wrote.
He alluded to a press conference that Raimondo, the lieutenant governor and the mayors of Providence, Pawtucket and Central Falls held April 2 to raise alarm about the citizenship question on census forms. Since statistics gathered by the Census Bureau determine how many congressional representatives states get and how much federal aid municipalities and states receive, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said an undercount could cost the state federal money and even a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Echoing the concern, Raimondo said an undercounted population could lead to less aid for schools, police and fire departments and community development.
A day later, 17 states, including Rhode Island, the District of Columbia and six cities, sued the U.S. government, saying the addition of a citizenship question to the census form is unconstitutional.
“Do they believe illegals are entitled to representation in Washington? Do they believe they should therefore be entitled to vote? I do not,″ Trillo wrote.
Explaining why he signed on, R.I. Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin said: “Our Founding Fathers were clear when they wrote in our Constitution that the decennial census be an ‘actual Enumeration’ to ensure that every man, woman, and child residing within the United States be properly counted. Such a count ensures equal representation in our House of Representatives, determines our influence in presidential elections, and dictates our share of federal funding for many programs in which our state and residents rely upon.”
But Trillo, in his opinion piece, labeled the actions “the latest example of concerted activities to circumvent federal immigration laws.” Among his allegations: pressure on departments of corrections and public safety, by unnamed state leaders, “to release criminals onto our streets, instead of detaining them under a request by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”
There was no immediate response from the Raimondo campaign to this allegation.