Massachusetts: June 2011 Archives

Last Wednesday, Mass. State Rep. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that undocumented rape victims "should be afraid to come forward" to the police. Fattman's comments were a reaction to the [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm), wherein the Obama administration essentially wants to turn every local police officer into a border patrol agent by decree in two years.

A week later, the reaction has been deafening, along with the silence of Masschusetts Republicans.

Almost 3,000 people have signed a CREDO Action petition asking Fattman to apologize and rescind his support for S-Comm.

Almost 3,000 people have signed a petition started by New Hope Inc, a Massachusetts-based organization that works to end domestic violence, asking Fattman to apologize and the Mass. State House to publicly denounce his comments.

Almost 700 people have signed a Care2 petition telling Massachusetts Republicans that "women deserve basic equal rights, regardless of status."

If you haven't signed my petition yet targetting Mass. Republican Leadership, including Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) who endorsed Fattman, please do so. I'm going to continue to push to get as many people involved in this fight in whatever capacity they can, while I try to compile the collective impact.

For the first time in as long as I can remember, Massachusetts Republicans have nothing to say on the subject of immigration. They're strategy seems to be to try and ignore outcry. Good luck. As long as I'm a resident of this Commonwealth, it's going to get worse the longer they try to remain silent.
UPDATE: CREDO Action just sent an action alert out to 15,000 people in Massachusetts regarding Rep. Fattman. 800 People have already signed.

For the first time I can remember, as long as I've been a resident of Massachusetts, local Republican leadership has been silent on the issue of unauthorized migration.  It appears State Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), has finally crossed a line too far by suggesting that undocumented rape victims "should be afraid to come forward" in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.  Over 100 people have signed my petition asking that Mass. GOP Leadership clarify their position on undocumented rape victims, and almost 500 people have signed a petition started by local women's rights group, New Hope, Inc., asking the Mass. State Assembly to censure Rep. Fattman. If you haven't signed my petition, yet, please do so:

Massachusetts Republicans love to beat up on the pro-migrant community. The entire Republican infrastructure, along with local conservative newspapers like the Boston Herald, and talk radio like WRKO AM 680, beat up on us so much it's hard to know which punches to defend. Folks who follow me know that I don't say that as a partisan. In fact, I think it's partly the pro-migrant community's fault that we've allowed ourselves to be punching bags for Republicans, and the first ones to be sold out by a state that is run almost entirely by Democrats. We're not as well organized as we should be, but you can help us start to build the power we need to take on this nativist infrastructure.

As the pro-migrant community tries to build power here in Massachusetts, we have the gift of a rare misstep by the miniscule Republican caucus, through Rep. Fattman's remarks, to shine the light of truth on the horrific anti-migrant policies that local Republicans advocate for and local Democrats enable. I wouldn't be pushing this if Rep. Fattman had apologized. However, it's clear from his "clarifying" statement (which doesn't do much clarifying),and the silence of Republican leaders, that they are refusing to take responsibility for his statements. Rep. Fattman's statements discourage undocumented rape victims from coming forward, and encourage rapists to focus on undocumented women.

As I stated in my first post about this, this isn't an attempt to play political games, nor is this a hypothetical situation. Unauthorized migrants are frequently preyed on by people who know they're too afraid to go to the police. Furthermore, this situation gets to the heart of the debate that advocates are having over what I think is currently the greatest threat that migrant communities face across the nation, the [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm).
Please sign this petition asking the leaders of the Massachusetts Republican Party to clarify their stance on Undocumented Rape Victims:

The narrative is turning on the backlash to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's decision to stand up to [In]Secure Communities (S-Comm), easily one of the greatest threats to migrant communities around the nation.  There's been a national outcry against the comments of State Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), who in a statement to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, suggested that undocumented rape victims "should be afraid to come forward" and report the crime committed against them. Care2, Daily Kos, Firedoglake, Mother Jones, and Think Progress have all covered Rep. Fattman's remarks.  Fattman's attempts to clarify his comments did not contain an apology, nor did they clear up what an undocumented woman should do if she's raped.

Proponents enforcement-only migration policy solutions are likely to see the uproar over Fatmann's comments as much ado about nothing, or worse as some sort of cynical political attack. In truth, this uproar gets right to the heart of the matter of the debate over U.S. immigration policy, which is really a debate over what type of country the U.S. should be. Does the U.S. want to be a country that does nothing when a migrant is raped for the simple act of trying to seek a better life for herself and her family?

This isn't a hypothetical situation. Unauthorized migrants, some of the most vulnerable people among us, are routinely raped as they attempt to seek a better life in the U.S. It was Maria Bolaños, a undocumented victim of domestic violence, who most dramatically brought the problems with S-Comm to light when she confronted the director of the program, David Venturella, with her story. In Massachusetts, people regularly impersonate ICE agents in order to assault and rob unauthorized migrants. What does do Massachusetts Republicans think unauthorized migrants should do in these situations? Should we allow this violence to go unchecked in a quixotic attempt to enforce the broken laws of our outdated immigration system? Do Massachusetts Republicans want to live in a country where we make conditions so miserable for migrants, that they are forced to return to the majority world countries they're fleeing from?

The petition is addressed to the leaders of the Massachusetts Republican Party: Chairman Jennifer Nassour, Executive Director Nate Little, and Communications Director Tim Buckley. Sen. Scott Brown, who endorsed Fattman, should also be forced to clarify his position on this issue.

Rep. Fattman, who refused to apologize in his clarifying statements, or even do much clarifying for that matter, should unequivocally apologize immediately or resign. Public officials have to use their words responsibly and the fact of the matter is that his statements effectively encourage sexual predators to prey on undocumented women, and discourage undocumented women from reporting rapists. If he can't take responsibility for that then he has no business being a public official.

Barack Obama, through his Department of Homeland Security (DHS), wants to turn every local police officer into a border patrol agent by 2013 through his Secure Communities program (S-Comm).  Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis, whom we all thought used to be a friend to the pro-migrant community, is not only happy to support Obama doing it, he's throwing the entire U.S. justice system under the bus in the process.

According Immigration and Custom's Enforcement's (ICE) own statistics, Boston has one of the worst records in the nation of deporting actual criminals under S-Comm. According to ICE, of the 256 people who were deported from Boston under S-Comm between Nov. 2008 and Sept. 30, 2010, only 24, or 10.67% were level 1 offenders and over half, 135, or 52.73% were non-criminals.

It was in the face of statistics like these, and a strong statewide campaign led by Centro Presente, that Gov. Deval Patrick decided to take a stand against S-Comm.

Call Gov. Patrick to thank him at 617-725-4005 and tweet him at @massgovernor if you get a chance.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Massachusetts category from June 2011.

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