By Gordon Davis
Charlie Baker, the Governor of Massachusetts, “proclaimed” yesterday that he would not accept any refugees from the Syrian Civil War.
Twenty four other Republican governors made the same “proclamation.”
Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey, said he would not even accept a 5-year-old child.
The actions of these governors are a political stunt. States have zero authority in regards to immigration. Immigration is exclusively a Federal area of governance. Governor Baker has misled us in thinking that he has some power over refugees from war. This is certainly dishonesty on his part.
This dishonesty continues when His Excellency Mr. Baker uses the pretext of public safety to justify his false and malicious remarks. When he made his so called “proclamation” it was already known that not one of the attackers in France came from Syria. All of them were born within the European Union. One of the victims of the attack was from Syria.
Governor Baker’s actions have likely done more harm than good in that it creates resentment and anger. Already there has been some push back. There is likely to be more push back.
“His Excellency”’s actions and their pretext are further evidence of the racist tendencies of Republicans and their Tea Party constituents.
Please recall that His Excellency Mr. Baker also said he did not want Hispanic children refugees from Central America coming to Massachusetts.
There is a history of racist anti-immigrant fervor in Massachusetts:
In 1854 the so called “Know Nothing” Party aka American Party won elections and was strongest in Boston.
The Know Nothings consisted only of White Protestant men and they oppressed everyone else, including Catholics, Jews. the foreign born, women, and Blacks. Governor Baker seems to be following, at least partially, in The Know Nothings’ footsteps.
In the early Twentieth Century there was what was called the Red Scare in the United States after the Bolsheviks founded the Soviet Union in 1917. Immigrants, some of whom had socialist ideas, were arrested and deported in what are known as the Palmer Raids. Emma Goldman was caught up in this oppression and deported to Russia.
During World War II many Jews fleeing the Nazis were turned away by the United States and forced to return to Germany where they died in the Holocaust.
In the 1990s the Haitian boat people were refused entry into the United States and were forced to live for years in the Guantanamo Bay holding camp.
His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts has shown he has little compassion and a tendency to fascism. He did not speak of the refugees as people in need.
It would make sense for the Governor to pull back his proclamation. He knows better than to follow the other Republican governors in what seems to be a locked goose step into a moral morass.
Baker should welcome the Syrians and other refugees. He should make their transition to their new homes in the United States as smooth as reasonably possible.
This governor also should be spending more time on fixing the credible problems we have, such as the overloaded DCF, the ill functioning public transportation systems, and inequities of mandatory sentencing. It makes sense to work on the credible problems, instead of the threats that are not credible.