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  1. #1
    Senior Member butterbean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    MA Senate Bill Would Block Illegal Immigrants From Housing ... eid=131063

    Senate bill would block illegal immigrants from housing
    By Emelie Rutherford/ Daily News Staff
    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    BOSTON -- State senators plan to debate a proposal to thwart illegal immigrants from receiving state-subsidized housing today, continuing a Republican-led effort to address immigration matters in state as debate over federal policy rages from coast to coast.

    Local housing authorities would be allowed, and possibly required, to verify the immigration status of all applicants for public housing under a budget amendment the Senate is expected to weigh today, the second and final day of the chamber's debate of the fiscal 2007 state budget.

    Under current state law housing authorities are not allowed to verify the immigration status of applicants for state-subsidized public housing, but can do so through for people seeking federally supported public housing.

    Some lawmakers and activists fear illegal immigrants are receiving such housing before legal residents.

    "It's absolutely logical, if you have illegal immigrants taking housing spots away from veterans, elders and U.S. citizens who actually paid their whole lives tax dollars...then it doesn't make sense," said state Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham.

    Brown co-sponsored the amendment, filed by state Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, along with the four other Republicans in the Senate.

    The move does not appear to be split along party lines.

    State Sen. Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, said she planned to support a similar amendment allowing housing authorities to check applicants' immigration status.

    The Framingham Housing Authority crafted its own policy a few years ago stating only legal residents can receive state-aided public housing through it, Executive Director William Casamento said.

    "Public housing's finite, there's only so many units in this state," Casamento said. "When an undocumented immigrant takes a unit of public housing they're taking it from someone who's here legally."

    Casamento said before the Framingham Housing Authority adopted its policy some illegal immigrants did come looking for state-subsidized public housing.

    He said he concluded the applicants were not documented because they would request state-aided housing, knowing that to receive federally supported housing they would have to have their immigration status checked.

    Casamento said his discussions with other housing authority directors lead him to conclude thousands of illegal immigrants have received taxpayer-supported housing.

    Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said he fears Hedlund's amendment, as originally written, would negatively impact legal immigrants. He said he knows of no hard evidence of illegal immigrants accessing public housing.

    The Senate yesterday passed two other immigration-related budget amendments proposed by Republicans.

    One amendment calls for setting up a hotline for reporting employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, and requiring the state attorney general report allegations to federal authorities.

    The other amendment requires criminal defendants' immigration status be confirmed during their court arraignments.

    These measures are now in the Senate's working version of the budget, and would have to clear several additional steps before becoming law.

    (Emelie Rutherford can be reached at 617-722-2495 or
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    WOW. A good idea out of Boston of all places. Probably will not amount to anything but is encouraging.

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