WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking weekly questions to the seven candidates running in contested primaries for the Wilmington/Tewksbury State Representative seat (19th Middlesex).
Below, in his own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Dave Robertson (D-Tewksbury).
#5) How big a problem is illegal immigration in Massachusetts? What, if anything, should the legislature be doing to curb illegal immigration? Do you support or oppose Massachusetts becoming a sanctuary state?
Illegal immigration in Massachusetts has become a big problem, especially for the cities of the state, that has been decades in the making. The question is, what can the legislature do?
As many folks know, immigration is controlled by the federal government and is a contentious topic of the day. I for one, believe the federal government is concentrating too much on who is here already without stopping the flow. It’s like mopping up a puddle while the pipe is still leaking! ICE is unbelievably broken and disgraceful, especially when compared to itself years ago, and both sides in Washington are refusing to compromise. In fact, they haven’t had any truly strong showing at fixing our immigration issue since the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” proposed immigration overhaul years ago that was logical. I also believe that felonies have occurred regarding the treatment of immigrants being detained; what has emerged needs to be investigated.
I believe that Massachusetts will harm itself as a sanctuary state, and instead should focus on helping legal immigrants gain education, start businesses, and become a part of society. These people who came here legally are Americans, and it is our duty to welcome them and support them as they will to us, their new neighbors. I want to add, however, that mass deportation is impossible and disruptive. Estimates over the years put the number of illegal immigrants in the Commonwealth from anywhere around 150,000 to 250,00 people. This is too large an effort, and would throw businesses, families, and communities into disarray. Anyone who proposes legislatively that roughly the population of Worcestor can be deported is naive to the time, money, and lost productivity that would occur.
To remove the incentive to move to Massachusetts, I believe businesses should be imposed to strict penalties for hiring folks illegally and that we should also not grant drivers licenses to anyone but Massachusetts residents. I also stand strongly against any local ordinances that would grant people living illegally the right to vote in municipal or state elections. Aside from this, there is not much the state can do other than not get in the way of federal officials.
I eagerly await Congress to wake up, and pass something. I would recommend hire more immigration officials to process visas (be they temporary or permanent), and set a path to remove criminals and make contributing illegal immigrants citizens. Even President Reagan sought such a path; punish businesses who exploit their labor, collect back taxes owed by such individuals, remove criminals, and fix the border both in terms of bureaucracy as well as physical security. Later Presidents, including Clinton, Bush, and Obama all tried such compromises as well. Instead, DC would rather argue while guns, drugs, and human beings are trafficked across the border.
#6) Do you consider yourself a pro-choice candidate or a pro-life candidate? Under what circumstances, if any, should abortion be legal?
While I personally am not a proponent of abortion, I understand the need for it due to medical reasons threatening the mother or child, as well as in the case of rape. I am unsure if this makes me either pro-choice or pro-life, but medical professionals have made it abundantly apparent that this is needed to save lives that otherwise would be loss. As they are professionals, far more qualified on this matter, I place my trust in them. To ban it would put entire families in jeopardy of losing both mother and child, and would place the state at risk for legal action. At the end of the day, the Supreme Court has ruled and made this issue more or less moot with Massachusetts laws allowing women patients to make her own decision. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, I do not see this returning to the floor of the Massachusetts legislature in any degree.
BONUS FUN QUESTION: How are you spending your Fourth of July?
I am spending the fourth of July by going door to door, distributing more yard signs with volunteers, and spreading literature. It’s hot out there, I feel like I’ve lost ten pounds at the end of each day!
(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)
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