There’s good news when it comes to illegal immigrants and Massachusetts: The state’s total of 87,000 accounts for .01 percent of the 6,994,000 illegals in the country.
The way some have been carrying on about the issue lately, you’d think we live in California, home to more than 2 million illegal immigrants. That’s tops among all states and double the second highest number of slightly more than 1 million in Texas.
That said the sudden call for tougher stances on illegal immigrants in Massachusetts is not without merit. We’ve all seen the headlines, including the horrific case of a Brazilian illegal immigrant accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend to death. Now, there is renewed debate here over just how tough the state should be on illegal immigrants. Lawmakers on Monday announced a bill designed to toughen restrictions concerning employment and benefits for illegals. Additionally, three Bay State sheriffs, including Worcester County Sheriff and former state Rep. Lew Evangelidis, have cranked up the heat on Gov. Deval Patrick, calling for tougher enforcement of illegal immigration laws.
Patrick seems to have shrunk to a new low, even by his standards, in giving reporters a sly smirk when asked about a push by the sheriffs for the state to implement the federal Secure Communities program, which would require an immediate check of the immigration status of arrestees. The governor referred to the sheriff’s stance as “nothing more than a publicity stunt,” a comment that drew the ire of the stepfather of Matthew J. Denice of Milford, who was hit and killed by and allegedly drunk and illegal immigrant, Nicholas Guaman.
OK, so the sheriff who likened illegal immigrants to “terrorists” may have given in to hyperbole, but the fact remains that illegal immigration continues to be a controversial and important issue, not just here but across the country.
On the face of things, it would appear simple: If you’re here illegally, you shouldn’t be. Period. And if you’re here illegally and you commit a crime, you should be sent packing.
Ah, but in Massachusetts, it’s never that simple. Critics like to pull out the “hate” card whenever you start talking about turning away illegal immigrants. The betting here is none of them lost a child to a crime committed by the individuals for whom they so fervently fight.
The truth is it’s not a black-and-white issue. If you’re parents come here illegally, but you’re born here, why should you be punished? And after the family has been here for years, how much damage is done if you deport the parents? What should be black-and-white, however, is that the state should take whatever measures necessary to find out whether its criminals are illegal residents. If they’re found to be, there should be more than just the usual justice.
It is unfortunate that Patrick likes to play to the “hate” crowd, especially in the face of so many recent and high-profile incidents involving illegal immigrants. It’s even worse that he does so with a grin. Illegal immigration is a serious issue and should be treated as such. As Michael Douglas’ President Andrew Shepherd said at the climax of “The American President”: “We’ve got serious problems and we need serious people … This is a time for serious people.”
Like this article? There’s an easy way to guarantee you don’t miss the next one – and it’s free! Simply click on the “Subscribe” button above. It is located under the writer’s name. Show your support of knotmove.com and this writer by signing up for e-mail alerts to new postings. Did we mention it’s free? Are you a business owner? Consider sponsoring Walter Bird Jr., whose daily page views are typically above the average political and Boston pages on knotmove.com. Click on the “Sponsor an Examiner” button atop this article for more information. Don’t forget to follow the Bird’s Tweets on Twitter @colesdad41. Thank you for reading!