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Selective Enforcement

There's a three-way race for the gubernatorial nomination among Massachusetts Democrats, and the Boston Globe has chosen its candidate (former Clinton administration Deval Patrick) and first runner-up (businessman Chris Gabrieli). That means that it's open season on #3, Attorney General Tom Reilly. And Reilly seems hell-bent on helping them at every opportunity.

On Sunday, the Globe suddenly discovered that (gasp!) some state contractors are apparently hiring illegal aliens to work on state construction projects such as schools, prisons, and the like. And on Monday, they went to the state's highest law enforcement official, Mr. Reilly, for his reaction.

Mr. Reilly apparently has never heard of The First Rule Of Digging Yourself Into A Hole: stop digging.

Companies using state money to hire illegal aliens to work on state projects? Not his problem. That's a federal issue. Reilly's focus is on enforcing Massachusetts law, including wage laws and employee safety.

That would be a credible defense, but the Globe didn't stop there. They reached out to their sources in businesses and unions, and asked how well Reilly has done enforcing those laws.

Their answers? Pretty shabbily.

Apparently a lot of companies, stung at being undercut by competitors who underbid them based on paying their illegal alien slaves indentured servants employees substantially below "prevailing wages," as required by law. In fact, one union says they have lodged 100 complaints with Reilly's office since 2000 -- and 86 are still unresolved.

A few folks have said Reilly's rather selective view towards enforcing the laws of the Commonwealth are grounds to remove him from office, but others point out that he's not running for another term as Attorney General -- and if he loses the primary, he's pretty much finished politically. But there's a part of me that thinks a swift boot to the ass on the way out the door would send a great message to others -- if you're the state's chief law enforcement officer, it is NOT your place to decide which laws do and do not get enforced.


Comments (13)

Contrary to popular belief,... (Below threshold)

Contrary to popular belief, the largest employment sector for illegals in most areas aren't agricultural, sanitation, or janitorial jobs. In many areas the chief employment sector is in construction. Take a drive through a large real estate development that might be going up near you and have a look at the roofers, framers, dry-wall hangers, graders, and landscapers. Sit quietly and listen to them talk among themselves. You might find it odd to see such a large spanish speaking construction crew to be located in South Dakota or Minnesota or Montana or Vermont.

Chances are good that these people are also not making near the wage that more tradtional tradesmen are getting in those areas too.

Jay, How can it be... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay,

How can it be "selective enforcement" when it appears Reilly has practiced "non-enforcement" - a position he takes based on his opinion that its a federal issue, not a state issue. Where is he being "selective" (i.e. "discriminatory")?

By the way, according to the article you linked, Reilly's position has some basis:

A Massachusetts law states, in part: ``It shall be unlawful for any employer knowingly to employ any alien in the Commonwealth . . . who has not been admitted to the United States for permanent residence, except those who are admitted under a work permit."

That law was superseded by the federal 1986 Immigration Reform Act, which made imposing sanctions on employers who hire undocumented immigrants exclusively a federal responsibility, said several immigration specialists.

???

Leave it to old pucker puss... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Leave it to old pucker puss lee lee to take the side where you kiss ass.

Is "pucker puss" a euphamis... (Below threshold)
moseby:

Is "pucker puss" a euphamism for "asshole"? I certainly hope so.

I haven't taken sides, I've... (Below threshold)
Lee:

I haven't taken sides, I've asked for clarification. I don't see how Reilly is being "selective", but I'm suspect Jay will be along to explain.

Isn't it way past your nap times jhow and moesby?

OK, Lee, how about this: wh... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

OK, Lee, how about this: while Reilly doesn't seem to recognize a single law regarding illegal aliens, he has had plenty of time to focus on far more pressing issues:

1) Pushing to have Oxycontin not just restricted, but outright banned.

2) Sending out threatening letters to supermarkets making damned sure they are closed on Thanksgiving -- even those that pre-sell hot meals for people who don't have time to prepare a meal, opening only so they can have people pick up their dinners.

3) Squelching the results of an investigation into a car crash in which two teenage girls were killed, and a third injured.

4) Threatening MySpace.com with legal action because some of its members have been victims of criminals that are also members.

Enough examples for you?

J.

Jay,Ok, so you're ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Jay,

Ok, so you're saying "selective enforcement" refers to all laws in general, not just "wage laws and employee safety". Fine.

My point was, from the information provided, I didn't see where Reilly's enforcement of immigration and wage and hour laws had been "selective".

and as to your comment "if you're the state's chief law enforcement officer, it is NOT your place to decide which laws do and do not get enforced "I disagree. If there is a basis for his decision that enforcing immigration laws is a federal matter (and according to the article some immigration specialists apparently feel there is a basis for that opinion), then it IS his place to decide how those laws are enforced. You certainly don't want a state attorney general enforcing federal laws, now do you? At least, I can assure the feds don't want that.

I think the article makes a valid point where Reilly's critics say that if Reilly has knowledge that a law has been broken (ie there is a illegal immigrant reported to him) then he is oblilgated to pass that info on to the Feds, something he apparently hasn't been doing...

... but that's a different matter than expecting him to enforce federal immigration laws.

Lee, let me repeat one para... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Lee, let me repeat one paragraph:

"Apparently a lot of companies, stung at being undercut by competitors who underbid them based on paying their illegal alien slaves indentured servants employees substantially below "prevailing wages," as required by law. In fact, one union says they have lodged 100 complaints with Reilly's office since 2000 -- and 86 are still unresolved."

Those are STATE laws. And those are the ones he's ignoring.

J.

Slavery by companies is not... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Slavery by companies is not restricted to Ma. Companies all over the country are putting the criminals who crossed the border into slavery much worse than the 1800's, and if they don't bow to the slave owners they have them deported. Deportation is good, but not as punishment for refusing to become a full time yes sir slave. Time to give the employers of the criminals a taste of slavery on a job making small gravel out of large rocks. Get rid of the sham laws passed by the anti-american left wing liberals over the years and make hard labor mean hard labor. not a vacation in an air conditioned fully furnished cell. Some of the judges have learned the hard way that the liberal laws are wrong. The criminals are now killing the judges.
Removing Christ and all morals from the classroom and everyday life will eventually destroy the country. Teachers raping students and child molestors are now rampart in the country. Your children and grandchildren will pay the price.

crosspatch-Cont... (Below threshold)
fletch:

crosspatch-

Contrary to popular belief, the largest employment sector for illegals in most areas aren't agricultural, sanitation, or janitorial jobs.

Some of us know!

I was an (unskilled) framer/roofer in Columbus, OH during the mid/late 80s.

I was earning $10.50/hr(no benefits).

Current "market price" for an 'unskilled' roofer in Columbus, OH in 2006?-- About $12-13/hr(and $9-$10 if 'under the table')...

8 of the last 11 'roofers'(and 18 of the last 25) in Columbus that died in a work accident were illegals...

Am I supposed to be more willing to die in order to compete?

My Senator-- Mike DeWiney-- apparently thinks this is a positive...

I am strongly leaning toward a '3rd party' candidate, but I will vote surely vote for a "true leftist" like Sherrod Brown before I ever let DeWine win another term...

(Oops!)That's how ... (Below threshold)
fletch:

(Oops!)

That's how strongly I feel... I would "vote" twice! :o)

"Removing Christ and all... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"Removing Christ and all morals from the classroom and everyday life will eventually destroy the country. Teachers raping students and child molestors are now rampart in the country. Your children and grandchildren will pay the price."

Thanks for finally revealing your colors, Scarpiron. I can now safely addd you to my ignore list.

Nice hat!

A Massachusetts law states... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:
    A Massachusetts law states, in part: "It shall be unlawful for any employer knowingly to employ any alien in the Commonwealth . . . who has not been admitted to the United States for permanent residence, except those who are admitted under a work permit."

    That law was superseded by the federal 1986 Immigration Reform Act, which made imposing sanctions on employers who hire undocumented immigrants exclusively a federal responsibility, said several immigration specialists.

The formulation of this defense of Reilly's actions in this article is a bit ... odd.

The reporter had no problem citing the Massachusetts State Law that prohibits the hiring of illegal aliens. But then he cites "several immigration specialists" as saying that the 1986 Immigration Reform Act invalidated that law - without providing any citation from the 1986-IRA itself.

Why?

Personally, I think the reporter discovered that experts have come down on both sides of the issue, and decided to bury the position he opposed and highlight the position that came closest to his.

After all, even if only ten "immigration specialists" agree that the 1986-IRA superseded the MA illegal immigrant hiring ban in the way suggested above while twenty disagreed ... the fact remains that the writer is entirely accurate that "several immigration specialists" believe that Reilly has no business enforcing the said MA state law.




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