Mass Senate Seeks a New Scapegoat

[Our guest post below is by Frank Soults at our HCFA partner, Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. The MIRA Coalition will be holding a press conference on Wednesday, May 26, at 9:15 a.m. in State House Room 437, to oppose the anti-immigrant budget amendments]

Tomorrow, the State Senate of Massachusetts will consider no fewer than eight budget amendments that sacrifice taxpayers’ money and citizens rights’ in an effort to trap our culture’s latest hobgoblin, the undocumented immigrant who somehow defrauds the government while also hiding from it.

The centerpiece of this deluded quest is a revival of Representative Jeff Perry’s amendment to require all state agencies to check the immigration status of applicants for benefits. Logic would suggest that few if any undocumented immigrants would dare file those applications, and indeed, a study of a similar law passed in Colorado found that the state government spent over $2 million implementing an immigration-verification system – a system that saved the state absolutely no money whatsoever. Furthermore, this verification system could potentially deny benefits to citizens who lacked a driver’s license or state I.D. (a birth certificate and passport aren’t acceptable), including elderly residents seeking basic health-related services.

All of the eight amendments are likewise rife with potentially harmful side-effects to U.S.-born citizens. All of them certainly strain the fabric of one of the most diverse states in the union. And all of them usurp the authority of the federal government without providing any revenues to cover the costs of this usurpation. Even if one or two of the amendments are worthy of serious debate, serious debate is exactly what they will not receive in their current incarnation as budget amendments — legislating-by-budget is a classic tactic to avoid legislating by reason.

Given the way these amendments seek to demonize the undocumented and given the way they have been introduced, it’s difficult not to presume that they are grandstanding measures — a hair’s breadth from sheer demagoguery. In short, they are being introduced on the supposition that attacking a hobgoblin will play well to our general electorate. We can only hope that the electorate known as the Massachusetts State Senate sees through this ruse first, and it will send all of these amendments down to defeat.

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3 Responses to Mass Senate Seeks a New Scapegoat

  1. Bob says:

    Awesome that they cost us no money ??

    -Do they bring us in any money??
    -How do they pay taxes if they dont have Social Security #s ??
    -How can they drive if they dont have Lisences ?
    -How do they companies that hire them pay correct taxes if they cannot document their workers because their workers are here illegally ??

    How do they go to the doctors if they have no insurance ??
    Where can I get one of these illegal jobs so that I can afford to pay csh for my health and dental care .

    Just a few questions that I never see answers to
    All I ever see is stop picking on the ILLEGAL people they are just trying to make a living.
    Wellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll thre is a reason we call them ILLEGAL , and they have to cost more thanthey contribute if they do not pay the same taxes as myself.

  2. Robin says:

    Please direct me to the studies and evidence that show how much money undocumented immigrants cost us in services in Massachusetts. Undocumented workers in Massachusetts are our newest witch trials.

    Thinking you are stating “facts” without anything to back up your statements makes you look silly and out-of-touch, actually it would be ignorant.

    Here are some “facts” for you;

    In 1990 it was estimated that Mass had about 53k illegal immigrants, in 2000 87k. Using their estimated 34% growth rate and my poor math skills in averaging, I’ll add to that another 29k making the 2010 guesstimate 116k illegal immigrants. (<–used to show my “facts”).

    Now, using my 116k number, or any reasonable number really…please show me that 116k undocumented immigrants use up so much in services that the state of Massachusetts is taking away dental and other vital care to over 700k legal residents in order to make up for it.

    Not only am I being punished for living here, I’m being punished for being an adult too.

    It’s absolutely ABSURD to support this kind of legislation when the math doesn’t add up.

  3. Harold says:

    Let’s state the facts: undocumented immigrant DO cost us money in services!

    It is absolutely ABSURD that anyone opposes the legislation during the middle of the great recession (Thanks George W. Bush) when essential state services are being cut. Please stop complaining about this, it just makes advocates look silly and out-of-touch.


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