Milford is a microcosm of the battle over illegal immigration in Massachusetts. And yet public officials skirt the law. Why is it that it’s OK for state officials to go after employers who don’t pay illegals but not the illegals themselves?
Whether illegal immigrants should be eligible for a driver’s license – they are not now in Massachusetts – is an issue in Milford.
Between 2001 and 2007, Milford District Court Clerk-Magistrate Thomas Carrigan gauged how many defendants charged with operating without a license also had no Social Security number, a tell-tale sign of undocumented status. Sampling every fifth case, the office found the number increased from 10 out of 26 cases in 2001, a rate of 38 percent, to 163 of 183 in 2007, an 89 percent rate.
“We deal with it every day,” said O’Loughlin, an advocate for issuing specially coded licenses to illegal immigrants because it would identify who they are and where they live…
Like many local officials, the police chief is frustrated by the dysfunctional quality of the country’s immigration laws and enforcement at the federal level.
“It’s not my job to enforce federal law; it’s their job,” said O’Loughlin. “They’re failing miserably.”
Last fall, a Milford man, Richard Grossi, died of injuries suffered after his vehicle was hit by a car driven by an unlicensed Portuguese woman who has been in the country illegally for several years. Police said Maria Leite admitted running through a stop sign. On July 1, after a hearing in the Milford court, she was taken into custody by federal immigration officers pending trial on a charge of motor vehicle homicide.
The other enablers of illegal immigration include the Catholic Church, which is seeking to increase its flock. As always the church is above the law.
At St. Mary’s, many find help and a haven. Father Manny, as Clavijo is known, oversees a large Hispanic ministry that reaches out to other immigrants, too…
“My hope is to help them in any way I can,” Clavijo said of his immigrant flock. “They don’t have Social Security numbers, and they don’t pay [income] taxes, but if you give them the opportunity to give back to the town and embrace them, the outlook will be different.”