STATEMENT OF CONGRESSMAN BARNEY FRANK REGARDING IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT ACTION IN NEW BEDFORD
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank released the attached statement today regarding the recent immigration enforcement action at Michael Bianco, Inc., in New Bedford.
"It should be clear to everyone that as long as the law is on the books, it is up to law enforcement officials to decide when to enforce it. However, I urge them to use a sensible set of priorities in committing scarce law enforcement resources. More importantly, this event and its impact reinforce in my mind the need for comprehensive immigration reform legislation of the sort championed by Senators Kennedy and McCain.
"It is not healthy for our society to have millions of people working in the United States who are in the country illegally. This undercuts appropriate working conditions, and can give companies that employ such people an unfair competitive advantage. Those who believe the solution is to deport everyone who is here illegally should understand that would apparently mean 30,000 more such raids in the future (some 300 people were detained in this case out of an estimated 10 million who are in this country illegally). Clearly, this would cost tens of billions of dollars and be economically disruptive. That is why I prefer the sort of comprehensive solution contained in the Kennedy-McCain bill, which provides a means by which people who have been here and who have not otherwise broken the law can legalize their status, while at the same time we can take appropriate steps to curb further illegal immigration.
"Finally, whatever one's views on immigration enforcement, there is no justification whatsoever for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fail to take the appropriate steps to protect innocent minor children. The Massachusetts Department of Social Services (DSS) was ready to help in this important humanitarian task in a manner that in no way would have detracted from the needs of law enforcement. ICE's failure to take advantage of DSS's capabilities is deeply disappointing, and I will work with my colleagues to do whatever we can to prevent a repetition of this failure to provide adequately for innocent minor children."