STATE REP RACE Q&A: Judy O’Connell Discusses Her Positions On Illegal Immigration, Abortion

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 her own words, are the responses to this week’s questions from candidate Judy O’Connell (D-Wilmington).

#5a) How big a problem is illegal immigration in Massachusetts? 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, there are approximately 173,000 undocumented immigrants living in our Commonwealth. To provide perspective, The Department of Homeland Security, The Pew Research Center, and Center for Migration Studies, estimate there are an estimated 11-12 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Nearly one in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant, while one in seven residents is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent. That’s 16% of our state’s population. Immigrants, including those undocumented, are a vital part of our communities, labor force, and economy. However, it cannot be ignored that unlawful presence in the United States is a civil offense and depending upon how the individual entered the United States, a crime may have been committed.

#5b) Do you support or oppose Massachusetts becoming a sanctuary state? 

I fundamentally oppose Massachusetts being a sanctuary state. I believe any time you limit the cooperation between state and federal officials, there are unintended consequences that could exacerbate the very situation you are attempting to resolve. I understand the spirit of intent that providing sanctuary in a city or state promotes cooperation between undocumented immigrants and law enforcement to make communities safer. However, I also feel that providing sanctuary significantly impedes law enforcement’s ability to apprehend criminals in the US illegally or to properly evaluate threats to local and national security. The risk is simply too great.

#5c) What, if anything, should the legislature be doing to curb illegal immigration? 

Immigration has been regulated by the US Congress at the federal level, but the policies and practices of state and local governments have a direct impact on the lives of immigrants within their communities. There needs to be an end to the gridlock with bipartisan support for immigration policy promoting consistency and cooperation between federal, state and local governments and law enforcement. This is long overdue.

#6) Do you consider yourself a pro-choice candidate or a pro-life candidate? Under what circumstances, if any, should abortion be legal?

I will always support a woman’s right to choose. I don’t believe the government should be involved in this matter under any circumstance. If I were faced with this decision, I would choose life, but that’s a personal belief and I would never sit in judgment of anyone who makes a different decision.

BONUS FUN QUESTION: How are you spending your Fourth of July?

I will be taking advantage of some quiet time planning the next phase of the campaign along with an afternoon BBQ with family and friends.

(NOTE: Do you have a question for the candidates? Email and it may be asked in a future Q&A or in a debate.)

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