MILFORD (CBS) – There are 1400 employees in the town of Milford. On Monday, the town signed an agreement with the federal government to audit its current employees and their legal status. It will also mean any future job applicants will be subject to a background check on the high speed government computer software known as “E-Verify.”
This agreement comes on the anniversary of the death of a 23-year-old Milford man who was killed by an illegal immigrant behind the wheel of a car. Matthew Denice died one year ago Monday. He was hit as he was riding his motorcycle by 34-year-old Nicholas Guaman, an illegal immigrant living in Milford. Guaman faces second degree murder charges and has yet to stand trial. Denice’s death touched off a national debate on illegal immigrants living and working in the United States.
Milford became the first municipality in New England to enter into an agreement with the federal government. Brian Murray, the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, supports the plan.
The agreement between the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is known as IMAGE. Now a potential 100 employees every year in Milford will have their legal status scrutinized by the government software.
A group representing the right of immigrants (MIRA) says, “This is a pointless exercise by the city. It would check the immigration status of city employees and it is very unlikely an undocumented immigrant would apply for a job with the city.”
Family of Matthew Denice Reacts
Their pain is still raw, and the loss is still devastating. Family and friends of 23-year-old Matthew Denice gathered together at his grave site on the one year anniversary of his death.
Matthew’s mother, Maureen Maloney, says Matthew touched people’s hearts, “He had a huge heart, he was full of love and life and joy.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports
Now, Maureen’s focus is on getting justice for Matthew. They are waiting for a trial date and a competency hearing for the illegal immigrant accused of driving drunk and killing Matt. “Nicholas Guaman may be declared mentally incompetent to stand trial and if that’s the case justice will never be served,” she says. “That’s our big battle going forward.”
While they stood together in silence, at Milford Town Hall, the Board of Selectmen and Homeland Security Officials were signing the agreement to make Milford the first municipality in New England to take part in ICE’s Image program. It would allow immigration officials to audit all current employees, and check the backgrounds of future potential employees.
Maureen says, “It’s a great first step. The town has taken the leadership role by doing it. We need to expand that to all businesses in Milford, not only Milford but through the state and nation.”
She says in the past year, they have also worked to bring the federal program known as Secure Communities to Massachusetts, as well as close a loophole for people registering cars, and increasing penalties for people driving without a license.
Maureen hopes that people will remember Matthew for the great person that he was, and will think before they act. “What a loss it was to the world because one person made multiple bad decisions in a day, and that cost him his life.”
WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve and Karen Anderson contributed to this report.