Cambridge City Council Rejects Anti-Immigrant Amendment

After a 30-minute discussion that recognized the importance of immigrants both historically and currently to the City of Cambridge. last night the Cambridge City Council unanimously approved a policy Order sponsored by City Councilor Leland Cheung to go on record condemning the Massachusetts Senate's anti-immigrant amendment to the state budget, passed on May 27th.

During the discussion of the Order, nearly every Councilor spoke in favor, and expressed great dismay that such reactionary legislation was even proposed. Councilor Denise Simmons said she was "aghast" at the Senate action. Councilor Tim Toomey, who is also State Representative Toomey, mentioned that if the provision survives in conference, a legislator would have to vote against the entire budget bill to vote against the anti-immigration language. However, if the budget bill passes, Governor Patrick may veto the provision.

Councilor Henrietta Davis noted that Cambridge alone cannot "turn the tide" of reactionary politics, but if other towns and cities pass similar Orders, State legislators might be persuaded to prevent attaching this amendment to the budget. It was suggested that the Order be presented to other municipal officials, with the intent to ask that they lobby in their own municipalities for passage of a similar Order.

Three Cambridge residents, representing or recruited by CSfC, spoke before the Council to urge their support of the Order. Robin Finnegan spoke about the chilling impact of a 24-hour hotline to report undocumented immigrants; Susan Redlich spoke about the value, fairness, and urgency of allowing in-state tuition rates to be paid by academically-qualified undocumented high schoolers seeking to go to college; and Carlos Ponce, who just graduated from Harvard Medical School with an M.D./Ph.D. and is about to start an internship at Mass. General Hospital, and who is also an immigrant, addressed the problematic aspects of the measure from a first-person perspective.

Please continue to speak out against the Senate amendment so that the legislators in conference hear our message loud and clear: the senate amendment does NOT represent the good will of the people of Massachusetts. Members of Sen. Petrucelli's district are also urged to contact him to express your dismay at his position on the bill. Sen. Anthony Petruccelli 617-722-1634

Please also continue to lobby House members to press their leadership to keep this amendment out of the final budget being negotiated between the House and Senate.

The next meeting of the CSfC Immigration Reform/In-state Tuition Team is:

Comments

1 Response to "Cambridge City Council Rejects Anti-Immigrant Amendment"

Marcony Almeida said... June 15, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Thank you very much for your help folks! I hope Petrucelli hears and understand this resolution.

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Cambridge-Somerville for Change is an all-volunteer community group dedicated to harnessing the grassroots energy and spirit of change inspired by the Obama campaign. Our organizing work includes electoral and issue-based campaigns at the local, state, and national level. Our members have chosen to work on promoting economic fairness, comprehensive health care reform, creating policies that conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provide for fair and adequate access to public transportation, and promoting in-state tuition for immigrant youth.

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