(This is a MAJOR victory that has gained national attention, and is correctly being interpreted as Massachusetts own version of the “Arizona law”. Kudo’s the The Senate GOP or proposing it, and extra kudos to the State Senate for passing it so overwhelmingly. – promoted by Paul R. Ferro)
Senate Republicans scored a major victory for the state’s taxpayers today, as the Massachusetts Senate approved sweeping policy changes to limit public benefits eligibility to citizens and legal immigrants.
The changes were approved as part of a far-reaching amendment which the Republican Caucus had labeled one of its top budget priorities. The amendment, which passed on a 28-10 vote, will ensure that a wide range of public benefits are not accessible to people who are in the country illegally.
“I’m glad to see we were able to convince our Senate colleagues to pass these common-sense reforms today,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei. “We have thousands of people sitting on waiting lists for public housing and other state assistance programs, and it’s unfair to pass them over and use the state’s limited resources to reward people who are breaking the law.”
The comprehensive amendment:
• Prohibits in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants;
• Requires immigration status verification for public housing, welfare, MassHealth, and employment benefits;
• Permits private employers to utilize the federal EVerify system to confirm employees’ immigration status;
• Requires debarment from state contracts of employers who hire illegal immigrants;
• Requires that individuals produce a valid driver’s license when registering a motor vehicle;
• Requires immigration status verification for any criminal defendant arraigned in a Massachusetts court;
• Requires the Attorney General to enter in to a Memorandum of Understanding with the US Attorney General to collaborate and enforce federal immigration laws; and
• Establishes a toll-free hotline for the confidential reporting to the Attorney General’s office of the unlawful employment of unauthorized aliens and violations of state fair wage laws.
“The federal government has really dropped the ball on this issue,” said Senator Tisei. “Our own Governor actually supports providing in-state tuition benefits to people who are here illegally, but it’s time he step up to the plate and make sure these reforms happen.”