|By G. Michael Dobbs|
Last week, Gov. Deval Patrick spoke about implementing provisions recommended in a report on immigration and WBUR radio reported that Patrick told an audience at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, "I know that embracing newcomers is out of fashion these days. The concern over illegal immigration has become so shrill that all im-migrants get swept up in that emotion. I want you to know that you are welcome here in this Commonwealth. This is your Commonwealth. This is your home."
Census information has indicated that Massachusetts has been dependent on legal immigration for a number of years to stem the flow of other people leaving the state. So immigration is an important issue here.
But can we please separate the legal from the illegal immigrants when it comes to what people are eligible to receive from the state?
Patrick, according to the WBUR report, is seeking approval of legislation that will allow illegal aliens who attend high school in the Bay State to be charged in-state tuition fees at state colleges and universities.
And, apparently, he also supports issuing driver licenses for illegal immigrants.
Why, why, why?
At a time in which the state is facing a reported $2 billion budget shortfall in the near future, why spend money on people who aren't even supposed to be here?
My wife is a legal alien. My foster daughter is a legal alien. They had to wait to be admitted to this country. Why are exceptions and privileges being extended to people who aren't supposed to be here?
We don't have the resources to adequately address the concerns of legal residents, so why waste money on those who shouldn't be living here?
The other day, I attempted to drive down my narrow little street that was never designed for auto-mobiles. There were cars parked on both sides of the street and a woman standing next to the driver's side of one car chatting with the motorist.
Now, I'm driving a larger car these days and I'm very aware of its size. I cautiously turned down the street and stopped in front of the gabbing woman.
She gave me "the look" the same defiant one I get when people cross the street in front of my on-coming car and signaled me through. She didn't move her generously proportioned bottom one inch.
Seldom have I wanted to hit someone with my car as much as that moment. I didn't, though. I resisted the little devil perched on my shoulder.
More angry than usual, I pulled into my driveway, whipped out my pocket video camera and shot a 90-second rant, which I posted on YouTube.
The result was the mayor's office responded and the cars will be ticketed.
I appreciate the quickness of the response and was urged to call the city's 311 line with future concerns, which I will do.
My wife and I have found after living in the city over 29 years that it is the small quality of life issues that are our biggest concern. I only wish the people who park their cars illegally or play their music too loud or run electrical generators 24/7 or engage in other thoughtless behaviors could understand the depths of their selfishness.
My partial list on what I believe drew some comments from folks who probably view themselves as sitting opposite the political aisle from me. At least one letter writer agreed with me on the validity of Shemp as an integral member of The Stooges. Perhaps common ground on other pressing issues could be reached!
One writer questioned why I thought Western Massachusetts would be better off as a separate state or as part of another state such as Vermont. He believed a shift in political culture could be accomplished if the capitol was not in Boston.
He's right. I'm sure we would have been better off if the capitol was in Springfield or Worcester.
I just think we would have a few advantages as a new state. We could actually profit from the Quabbin and sell Boston its water. A Boston-area kid wanting to go the university in Amherst would have to pay out-of-state rates.
We could structure the state from scratch. Taxes? They could be new and lower. Social programs? We could decide what works.
I know this is political science fiction. It will never happen. There are times though when I think the only way we can see major reform is if we had to start all over.
Hey, agree with me? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. And as always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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