Immigration Issue Playing in Big Blue State

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on April 10, 2012

When you think of Massachusetts, you probably think of liberal lions like the Kennedys, Tip O'Neill, Barney Frank, and Michael Dukakis. So when Bay State Republicans start running an ad against Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, for being soft on immigration, it might just get your attention.

Well, that's what's happening!

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and the state GOP have launched an Internet ad criticizing Warren's support for giving illegal aliens taxpayer-funded in-state tuition benefits for college. The ad calls Warren out for her true-blue, open-borders position that's almost become a litmus test for national candidates of her party.

Sen. Brown is also standing with local sheriffs in support of the Secure Communities program, which checks suspected aliens' immigration status once they've been taken into police custody. Warren is cool to Secure Communities. My own view is that Secure Communities is inferior to the pre-Obama 287(g) program, where state and local enforcement is concerned. But it's a good bit better than nothing in average or sanctuary jurisdictions.

The Boston Herald news story on this development cited a statewide poll showing that about half of state voters disapprove of in-state tuition for illegals, as well as Gov. Deval Patrick's (D-Mass.) running away from his unpopular position favoring this reward for illegal immigration in his 2010 re-election. A Rasmussen poll of late 2010 found 70 percent public opposition to the pro-illegal policy in Massachusetts.

Immigration has gained salience in this blue New England state because of the recent death of a Massachusetts native at the hands of the latest illegal alien drunk driver to kill an innocent American. Couple that tragedy with President Obama's illegal alien uncle Omar doing his own drunk driving-illegal alien combo, and you have a headline-producing, public-outraging political issue.

Scott Brown, who stands for re-election this year after winning a January 2010 special election to serve out Ted Kennedy's unfinished term, stood firm in the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature against rewarding illegal immigrants. He numbered among a handful of GOP allies to then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) in deflecting in-state tuition and driver's licenses for illegals, as well as strengthening the role of state and local police in immigration enforcement.

Some criticize Sen. Brown for certain moderate issue positions he has taken, including his bill pushing more Irish visas. But it would be hard to imagine another federal lawmaker, especially in the U.S. Senate, winning election from the Bay State with as demonstrated a record against amnesty and for immigration enforcement as Sen. Brown's. It will be interesting to see how immigration issues factor into Massachusetts' Senate contest through the rest of this year.