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Citizens for Limited Taxation
|Immigration at center stage in Rep. race||Sunday, October 10, 2004|
|D. Craig MacCormack 508-626-4429||Metrowest Daily News|
FRAMINGHAM -- While the candidates for the 6th Middlesex District state
representative seat acknowledge illegal immigration is a federal issue, that
hasn't stopped them from talking about it on the campaign trail.
Republican Nicolas Sanchez, who came to the United States from Cuba as a child, sees "a tremendous amount of social conflict" among immigrants, saying illegal immigrants are getting too much of a free ride.
He decries allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses or attend a state university at in-state rates without being sworn in as citizens of this country. He also wonders why some schools still employ bilingual education.
"This (illegal immigrant) community needs to make a choice whether they want to become American citizens," said Sanchez. "It's painful but it can be done.
"We shouldn't have a system where we're trying to induce people to become American citizens. When you're talking about college students, they're not children. They should know the responsibility of borrowing money and paying off debt," he said.
Incumbent Democrat state Rep. Deborah Blumer works often with U.S. Rep. Ed Markey on immigration issues, saying they must be handled through the federal government.
She encourages all people in Framingham, whether legal or illegal, to seek higher education, saying that can give them the skills they need to get a job that helps them pay taxes.
Blumer said Sanchez is "being disingenuous" about her stand on in-state tuition, adding only about 300 to 400 students in the state are eligible for the program.
"These are students who came to this country as children," she said. "To deny them an education is just cruel. It's like visiting the sins of the father on the son.
"I still believe this is the land of opportunity. We have a lot of people who aren't citizens of the United States in our (colleges and universities). We're talking about hundreds of thousands in income. This is our future."
Independent challenger Jerry Bloomfield said the Sept. 11 attacks brought illegal immigration into the spotlight, but he wished he didn't have to talk about it during forums and debates.
Bloomfield agrees with Sanchez on all three major components of his push to make illegal immigrants more accountable.
"The federal government needs to take the primary responsibility," said Bloomfield. "(Sanchez) has very strong feelings about it. He went through harder times and believes what he went through made him a stronger person."
Sanchez doesn't like seeing illegal immigrants taking jobs from Framingham residents who are Puerto Rican, black or members of another minority.
"That creates conflict," he said. "I think I have a responsibility to people who are United States citizens. A lot of (illegal immigrants') income is obtained under the table because they don't have Social Security numbers.
"Their children appear to be part of the poor community because there is no income being reported, and that means the children get privileges that they may not deserve. That's creating a tremendous amount of social conflict," said Sanchez.
As state representative, Sanchez feels like he would be better able to tell his constituents about some of the injustices he sees in the Hispanic community and try to close the loop.
"People need someone who is more responsive to their views and will report what's going on," he said. "We can tighten the law. It's being interpreted so broadly."
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