POST-GAZETTE - Res Publica

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell

by David Trumbull

Novemer 27, 2009

Not long after the first foundation of the city, they opened a sanctuary of refuge for all fugitives, where they received and protected all, delivering none back, neither the servant to his master, the debtor to his creditor, nor the murderer into the hands of the magistrate, saying it was a privileged place; insomuch that the city grew presently very populous.—Plutarch, Life of Romulus, founder of Rome.

Ancient Rome, as has our Republic, became great as its population swelled with immigrates fleeing intolerable conditions in their native lands. But it was not an easy growth. The successors of Romulus struggled to unite, into one city, native Romans and immigrants from the Sabines and other tribes. America, too, has, several times, had to answer the question, How do we assimilate a large influx of new-comers from foreign lands with unfamiliar language and customs?

On November 17th Governor Deval Patrick unveiled his “New Americans Agenda” report with 131 recommendations for better integrating immigrants and refugees into the social, civic and economic life of the Commonwealth. Sadly for the future of our Commonwealth, Governor Patrick’s plan, if implemented, is not much directed toward making Americans out of immigrants who follow the rules—the sort of program in place during the peak of Italian immigration in the late 19th and first quarter of the 20th centuries. No, the Patrick plan is to reward illegal immigrants who manage to avoid expulsion by giving them privileged access to public goods and services. Key recommendations in the report include:

  • In-state tuition at public colleges and universities for all immigrants including those here illegally,

  • Driver’s licenses for illegals, and

  • Rental vouchers and other forms of subsidized housing.
As one local commentator says: “I don’t want special treatment, just treat me like an illegal immigrant!”

The Patrick plan even seeks to “Discourage questioning by local and state police on the immigration status of those involved in crimes including victims, witnesses, and suspects.” And, “Reiterate the policy directive banning State Police from engaging in enforcement of federal immigration laws and encourage similar policies for local police departments.” In other words, liberal Democrats like the “don’t ask; don’t tell” policy at least as applied to those who broke the laws of this country to get here.

[David Trumbull is the chairman of the Boston Ward Three Republican Committee. Boston's Ward Three includes the North End, West End, part of Beacon Hill, downtown, waterfront, Chinatown, and part of the South End.]