Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)
- 07-06-2012, 11:34 PM #1
MA - Family of man killed in crash at hands of illegal immigrant outraged at Gov. Pat
Family of man killed in crash at hands of illegal immigrant outraged at Gov. Patrick's overture to immigration activists
Published: Friday, July 06, 2012, 11:45 AM
State House News Service By State House News Service
BOSTON -- The sister of Richard Grossi, who was killed by an unlicensed driver in the country illegally, is “infuriated” by Gov. Deval Patrick’s entreaties toward immigration activists who oppose budget riders that would increase penalties for unlicensed driving and employing unlicensed drivers.
“We really should have our say in this also,” said Maureen Grossi Laquerre, whose younger brother was killed in October 2009 when the side of his car was slammed into by Maria Leite, who had reportedly blown a stop sign and flashing red light in Milford, right near the man’s home.
Laquerre took umbrage at immigration activists who demanded Patrick veto budget riders that deal with immigration enforcement, and threatened a hunger strike if their demands were not met.
“It’s infuriating to even realize these people are threatening a hunger strike,” Laquerre said. “They have no respect or regard for our loss.”
Before the Legislature’s budget was complete, a group of about 10 activists sat outside the governor’s office last Monday, June 25, and implored him to stand against any budget riders they deemed “anti-immigrant.”
Though Patrick told the group they should be lobbying the Legislature not him, he also gave them reason for hope that he would amend or veto more stringent immigration laws.
“I'm on your side. I've said that a million times. These provisions aren't before me yet. I've been as clear as possible, not just with you but with the Legislature that if they come before me, it's over… When it comes to me, if it comes to me, I'm on your side," Patrick said, prompting the group – which had planned to go on a hunger strike – to declare victory.
Laquerre said she would be satisfied if the governor signed the budget, leaving the language about immigration verification and penalties for unlicensed driving intact but her grievances with Patrick stretch beyond this particular debate. A Bellingham resident, Laquerre claimed that Patrick never responded to a letter that her sister wrote.
“He’s on the side of the immigration activists. We lost family members,” said Laquerre.
The governor’s office could not confirm receipt of the letter but made plans to reach out to Laquerre.
“The Grossi family suffered a terrible loss and our condolences are with them,” spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said. “The budget, including this outside section, is currently under review."
Others have said that clamping down on unauthorized immigrants will sow fear in immigrant communities, making it more difficult for law enforcement because people will be afraid to talk to them or report crimes.
The budget agreement on Patrick’s desk requires applicants registering a motor vehicle to provide a driver’s license or some other “proof of legal residence,” a measure Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) has pushed, arguing that cars registered by unlicensed drivers are a widespread problem. Laquerre said the woman who hit her brother was driving a car registered under the name of her husband, who was also unlicensed.
“People say, ‘Oh it’s an immigration issue.’ Well actually no, it’s a public safety issue,” Hedlund told the News Service. Hedlund has filed legislation since 2005 seeking to stop the ability of X-registrations, which he said have allowed car owners to register their car without a license since 1970.
“We’ve actually passed it in the Senate multiple times,” Hedlund said, though it is the first time the House concurred. The final version is slightly different from Hedlund’s original amendment, as it requires proof of legal residence, such as a Social Security number, but not a driver’s license.
Hedlund also responded to an immigration activist who wrote to the governor “we are aware of no evidence that persons ineligible to drive in Massachusetts are registering vehicles in this state.”
“The person who made the quote must have their head buried in the sand,” said Hedlund, claiming the number of X-registrations is in the thousands and many such registrations are held by people in the country illegally.
The budget bill would also increase fines for knowingly employing unlicensed drivers or allowing an unlicensed driver to drive, raising the fine for a first offense from $500 to $1,000. It also makes forging a license its own crime, with a maximum 10-year prison sentence for making 10 or more phony IDs.
Laquerre said any restrictions on people who are in the country illegally would be a “step in the right direction.”
“Illegal means illegal. They’re not supposed to be here to start with, let alone get behind the wheel of a car,” Laquerre said. She was also dissatisfied by Leite’s deportation to Portugal. “There was never a trial. She was deported. ICE took her. She got off scot free for his death,” Laquerre said.
One Old Vet
Family of man killed in crash at hands of illegal immigrant outraged at Gov. Patrick's overture to immigration activists | masslive.comWe have immigration laws that just need to be enforced.