Speaking Out On Immigration Reform

BOSTON (CBS) — All this week, WBZ Reports presents an in-depth look at the immigration debate in Massachusetts.

In her final report on Immigration: The American Dream, WBZ News Radio’s Mary Blake looks at who is speaking out on the subject of immigration.

“Renata”, in this country illegally for 15 years, has come out of the shadows.

She is pushing for passage of the Dream Act, which would offer a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants.

The Dream Act died in the U.S. Senate in September.

Renata had hoped to persuade Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to support it.

Former Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate Mike Dukakis has and continues to speak out on immigrant rights.

Dukakis says, “I don’t understand how a United States Senator from Massachusetts can vote against the Dream Act. I just don’t get it.”

While Senator Brown declined a request to be interviewed for this series, he did make a comment Friday.

Brown told the Associated Press he wants to work with Senate Democrats on possible federal immigration reform, as long as it’s not “fluff.”

The Republican says he plans to meet with leaders of both parties about options for reforms. But he said any effort should be focused on improving the economy.

Despite repeated requests for an interview, none of state senators who voted against the bill this past spring that barred illegal immigrants from receiving state services responded.

Methuen Senator Stephen Baddour, re-elected to another two year term last week, was a democrat who voted yes.

According to Baddour, “It sends the right message that if you are here illegally; you are not going to benefit from the system.”

Another democrat who will speak out is New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang.

His city still bears the scars of the March 2007 Michael Bianco factory raid.

Three years later, Lang says the raid itself was, in his view, a “political statement.”

More than 350 Bianco factory workers, all illegals, were rounded up by ICE agents.

Applauded as long overdue by some, ICE was also criticized by immigrant rights groups and New Bedford Mayor Lang.  Lang said “Lives were immediately disrupted, and that has consequences in a community.”

Luis’ mother was one of the workers. She was taken to prison, and they were going to transfer her to another jail in Texas.  Luis said, “It makes you feel really helpless.”  Luis’ mother was released after two months. She now has her green card, but nearly half of the cases are still in limbo.

Mayor Lang also laments the ultimate loss of 500 city jobs in the wake of the raid.

All work that had been done at that factory has now been shifted to Puerto Rico.

Ironically, all sides in immigration debate agree on one thing.   They all want action.

The Reverent Cheng Imm Tan, who heads up the Office of New Bostonians, wants the positive impact of immigrants better highlighted.

She says, “Immigrants as a whole earn about 4 billion dollars annually, just in the city of Boston.  That means a contribution of 1.2 billion dollars in state and federal taxes.  It also translates into jobs for 29 thousand people.”

Illegal immigrants argue they do, in fact, pay taxes.

“David” from Brazil says, “You don’t just pay taxes through your pay check; you pay taxes every time you pay rent, every time you buy something.”

On the other side of the debate is “FAIR”, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, based in Washington D.C.

FAIR’s Ira Mehlman has also compiled statistics, concluding that if amnesty or a guest worker program is adopted for illegals, the cost to Massachusetts, in this fiscal year, is 992 million dollars.

According to Mehlman, “This gives people a ballpark cost of how much it is really costing them on a day-to-day basis to subsidize the low wage workers for businesses who don’t want to pay American wages.”

New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang believes if you take away the extremes on both sides of the debate, automatic citizenship and deportation, you should reach agreement pretty quickly.

Boston deportation attorney Joshua Goldstein says if you want to see what a real immigration problem looks like, go to Europe.

Goldstein says, “In Europe, they have immigrants that don’t integrate into their societies.  They have immigrants who are estranged and set cars on fire in France.  Or in Germany, they lack immigration, and because of their demographics, Germany is going to have a real shortage of workers.”

Senator John Kerry is in a position to act. He says, “We need reasonableness… a path to citizenship that requires strict requirements.  But you also have to tighten up the borders and have enforcement against the companies that hire people illegally.”

Kerry says if you have border security and enforcement, then things will begin to happen. He predicts reform will happen next year.

 WBZ’s Mary Blake has more on the politics of immigration reform.

More from Mary Blake
Comments

One Comment

  1. Ali Alexander says:

    She says, “Immigrants as a whole earn about 4 billion dollars annually, just in the city of Boston. That means a contribution of 1.2 billion dollars in state and federal taxes. It also translates into jobs for 29 thousand people.”

    Illegal immigrants argue they do, in fact, pay taxes.

    “David” from Brazil says, “You don’t just pay taxes through your pay check; you pay taxes every time you pay rent, every time you buy something.”

    —————
    Does it occur to these people that these jobs would and should be done by AMERICANS? That AMERICANS would be paying taxes and consuming, probably more because they’d earn more without downward pressure on wages from illegal aliens. Illegal ALIENS are DISPLACING AMERICANS from paying taxes.

    And try that “I pay sales tax” argument with the IRS as a reason why you shouldn’t have to pay income tax.

  2. bibizam says:

    Illegal work harder than American and get more done for less money…..

    1. Twinkie says:

      Who do you think did those jobs before illegals undercut the wages? Americans work just as hard as anyone if they still have a job. It is Americans who built this country and who are now being displaced by illegal aliens who, as you say, work for less money.
      Illegals can afford to work for less when they live 25 to a single family dwelling sharing expenses and depend on the American tax payer to pay for their medical care through the Emergency rooms, and the education of their children. The children they have in this country that qualify them for section 8 housing, food stamps, WIC, etc. and at the end of the year, they are claimed as Dependants if the illegal is using a stolen SS# or ITIN’s, they get unearned income credits and receive back more than they paid in.
      So, your “less money” you are working for is being subsidized by the American tax payer.

      1. Immigrant says:

        Twinkie-do you have any evidence that illigal get pay less money then legal immigrant. If that was the case, this will encourage people to become legal immigrants, rather then staying illegal.
        To be honest, if you think about it, being illegal really sucks:
        You can’t drive, you can’t rent a house, you can’t collect any benefits including unemployment. You are 100% dependant on family and friends, I can’t of any other situation where something sucks so much as Illegal.
        I bet you don’t know any, perhaps, you should and ask.

    2. JOE says:

      HARD AT SELLING DRUGS AND DOING WHAT THEY DO BEST…. ANYTHING ILLEGAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Immigrant says:

    Ali-we have anti-descrimination laws in the USA, out of those 29,000 jobs even if you send everyone home, someone still has to do the work.
    It is no as simple as math, if you take 29,000 people out of any economy you can dipress the entire system or the entire states. Prices of house will go down, rent will go down, prices of goods will go down (diflaction), which is actually worse the inflation.
    I know you practice discrimitation, by only hiring people on the basis of national origin , but it simply doesn’t work that way. MA is the only state in the nation to loose population, nearly 2% in the last census, this upcoming census we will probrably loose even more people. 18% of the population of MA is an immigrant, maybe more, if you remove each and every person out of the system. Just think for a moment what could happen.
    Also remember, we are actually competing for labor, so it may be of suprise to many, that Canada and other European nations are very welcoming to new immigrant and they are choosing those places. We really need to study what future implication, these types of dialogs could have in our immigration trends. I know for certain, immigrants are American by choice, not by birthright. So if are unwelcome on the basis of your nationality, perhaps, they will stop coming. Has anyone done study on that?

  4. Twinkie says:

    Immigrant, Actually if you do a bit of research, you will find that Canada is putting into place laws to inhibit illegal immigration.
    Yes, there are illegal aliens who work for less money, usually construction, landscaping, etc. and many times are paid cash so they pay no taxes.
    I’ve been researching the issue for over 7 years, since an illegal alien who worked with me molested a 9 year old boy. It angered me that this child was molested by a man who should not have even been in this country.
    There are and estimated 12 to 20 million illegal aliens in the USA and there are 30 million American citizens who have lost their jobs in the past 3 years.
    A fast food restaurant opened recently in my area and there were over 600 applicants.
    Nationality has nothing to do with the issue, although the majority of illegal aliens here are Hispanic because of proximity of Mexico and Guatemala, there are still illegal aliens here from more than 70 different countries. Not all of them walked across a border, some of them overstayed their visa’s.
    As for talking to or knowing an illegal alien, yes, I worked for a company that at one time had more than 350 of them on one shift alone. That company now uses E-Verify.
    The majority of Americans welcome those who come here legally and there are millions who have filed the papers, paid the fees and have been waiting their turn (some for more than 10 years) to come here and become proud American citizens. This is the area where any form of immigration reform should take place, the backlog of people waiting to come legally should be processed before anyone else is considered.

  5. irish eyes are smiling says:

    Illegals get NO amnesty — period. They broke the law by coming here illegally and staying here.
    I am sick to death of paying for their emergency room care and having them take jobs when Americans have been laid off.

  6. Twinkie says:

    One more thing, most of the news reports about the DREAM Act, fail to mention that it covers “CHILDREN” up to age 35. Never in my lifetime has 35 years old been considered a child!

  7. GAIL GRANCSAY says:

    JOHN KERRY STILL DOESN’T GET IT!!! WHAT WILL IT TAKE????? HE SAYS IT’S TIME TO,”TIGHTEN THE BORDER”. THE WORD SENATOR WOULD BE CLOSE THE BORDER!!!! ARE YOU SURE YOU DIDN’T RECEIVE SERIOUS BRAIN DAMAGE IN THE vIETNAM wAR?? THE WORDS ARE, “WE MUST CLOSE THE BORDERS UNTIL THIS MADNESS STOPS!””” THOSE, THOSE ARE THE WORDS SENATOR KERRY, WHY DON’T YOU PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR REAR AND REJOIN THE PLANET EARTH WHERE THE REST OF US PIONS ARE. I HOPE YOU FRIGGING GET COAL THIS YEAR..MINED MY ILLEGAL MEXICANS THAT ARE NOW CAMPED ON YOUR FRONT LAWN! GOD YOU ARE DENSE!

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