June 3rd State House RallyOn June 3rd, over five hundred workers, activists, immigrant rights allies, and students rallied at the State House to tell the Massachusetts Senate that the fiercely anti-immigrant budget amendment they passed on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday weekend - does NOT represent the good will of the people of Massachusetts.
The amendment, which passed in the Senate 27-10, severely restricts public assistance to undocumented immigrants, outlaws in-state tuition for undocumented high schoolers, and establishes a 24-hour hotline at the Attorney General's office to drop-a-dime on undocumented workers.
"Who's going to be getting those calls?" asked Somerville State Representative Denise Provost. "Will it be my Italian immigrant neighbors next door? Or will it be my El Salvadoran and Ethiopian neighbors across the street?" she continued. "I don't want that kind of thing going on in my neighborhood. I don't want it going on in my city. I don't want it going on anywhere in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!" said Provost to a cheering crowd.
Immigration Team Visits with Cambridge and Somerville SenatorsMembers of CSfC's Immigration Reform/In-state Tuition team delivered letters to the Cambridge-Somerville Senate delegation at the State House, 3/4 of whom voted against the repressive measure. Richard Marcus, Ed Maracovitz, Susan Redlich, Tony Mack, and Pamela Goldstein delivered letters of thanks on behalf of CSfC to Sens. Pat Jehlen, Steve Tolman, and newly-elected Senator Sal DiDomenico for opposing the measure.
At Sen. DiDomenico's office, the activists were greeted by aides who said they were receiving much praise from Cambridge and Somerville for Sen. DiDomenico's principled stance (which, they noted, he took despite enormous pressure from others). It was unclear if Sen. DiDomenico was receiving the same praise from other parts of his district.
To the CSfCers' surprise, they were given an impromptu 30-min. meeting with Sen. Anthony Petrucelli, the one Senator from Cambridge-Somerville who voted in favor of the measure. Sen. Petrucelli, a strong proponent of in-state tuition, said that he found other measures within the bill "not unreasonable," as they codified aspects of the law that are already in place administratively.
CSfC expressed disappointment with Sen. Petrucelli's vote, suggesting that the 24-hour hotline both scapegoats and dehumanizes immigrants, based on their perceived nationality, ethnicity, racial characteristics, and languages spoken. Sen. Petrucelli laid partial blame for the city's increasingly anti-immigrant climate on talk radio -- to which CSfC responded that measures like the Senate budget amendment only strengthen such anti-immigrant sentiment and inflame the debate.
Sen. Petrucelli insisted that he had fought hard to remove the anti-in-state tuition provision in the bill. And yet: he still voted for the measure despite the fact that in-state tuition could not be removed. Members of Sen. Petrucelli's district are encouraged to contact him directly to express their dissatisfaction with his vote: Sen. Anthony Petruccelli 617-722-1634
The next step is to make sure the amendment does not become law, by lobbying House members to press their leadership to keep it out of the final budget being negotiated between the House and Senate.
PLEASE come to the next meeting of the CSfC Immigration Reform/In-state Tuition Team: