This was originally posted at Citizen Orange, and the post will be updated accordingly there since I can’t edit the text on BMG :(.
UPDATE: CREDO Action just sent an action alert out to 15,000 people in Massachusetts regarding Rep. Fattman. 800 People have already signed.
For the first time I can remember, as long as I’ve been a resident of Massachusetts, local Republican leadership has been silent on the issue of unauthorized migration. It appears State Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton), has finally crossed a line too far by suggesting that undocumented rape victims “should be afraid to come forward” in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Over 100 people have signed my petition asking that Mass. GOP Leadership clarify their position on undocumented rape victims, and almost 500 people have signed a petition started by local women’s rights group, New Hope, Inc., asking the Mass. State Assembly to censure Rep. Fattman. If you haven’t signed my petition, yet, please do so:
Massachusetts Republicans love to beat up on the pro-migrant community. The entire Republican infrastructure, along with local conservative newspapers like the Boston Herald, and talk radio like WRKO AM 680, beat up on us so much it’s hard to know which punches to defend. Folks who follow me know that I don’t say that as a partisan. In fact, I think it’s partly the pro-migrant community’s fault that we’ve allowed ourselves to be punching bags for Republicans, and the first ones to be sold out by a state that is run almost entirely by Democrats. We’re not as well organized as we should be, but you can help us start to build the power we need to take on this nativist infrastructure.
As the pro-migrant community tries to build power here in Massachusetts, we have the gift of a rare misstep by the miniscule Republican caucus, through Rep. Fattman’s remarks, to shine the light of truth on the horrific anti-migrant policies that local Republicans advocate for and local Democrats enable. I wouldn’t be pushing this if Rep. Fattman had apologized. However, it’s clear from his “clarifying” statement (which doesn’t do much clarifying),and the silence of Republican leaders, that they are refusing to take responsibility for his statements. Rep. Fattman’s statements discourage undocumented rape victims from coming forward, and encourage rapists to focus on undocumented women.
As I stated in my first post about this, this isn’t an attempt to play political games, nor is this a hypothetical situation. Unauthorized migrants are frequently preyed on by people who know they’re too afraid to go to the police. Furthermore, this situation gets to the heart of the debate that advocates are having over what I think is currently the greatest threat that migrant communities face across the nation, the [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm).
The Obama adminstration is trying to turn every local police officer into a border patrol agent by 2013, and local communities around the country are standing up to say that with the broken immigration system we have, this makes us less safe, not more safe. If you turn every local police officer into a border patrol agent through S-Comm, that means that 11 million unauthorized migrants in this country are going to be too afraid to go to a policeman. Including in those 11 million, most of whom commit crimes at a much lesser rate than the native population, is certainly undocumented rape victims.
Normally Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), and House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading) are only too happy to beat up on unauthorized migrants in public, but ever since Rep. Fattman made his comments and clarified with his non-apology, they’ve been silent. U.S. Senator Scott Brown, who endorsed Rep. Fattman, and targeted Harvard University for advocating on behalf of undocumented youth, has also been silent.
Help me to hold these Republican leaders accountable, and to turn the narrative on Secure Communities here in Massachusetts and I hope around the nation. Sign my petition asking Republican leaders to clarify their position on undocumented rape victims.