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Ecuadorian Officials Discuss Illegal Immigration [VIDEO]

More than 200 people listened as two Ecuadorian officials met with Milford Selectmen Wednesday, to discuss issues about illegal immigration in Milford.

met with Milford Selectmen Wednesday, and pledged to continue to work with town officials to address issues surrounding illegal immigration.

But they proposed nothing specific as an immediate solution to the pressures facing Milford, leaving many in the audience of 200 residents dissatisfied. The meeting was held upstairs at , after the selectmen's meeting room exceeded its capacity.

Attending on behalf of the Ecuadorian government were Beatriz G. Almeida Stein, Ecuador's consul general in Boston, and Pablo Calle, Ecuador's administrator of immigration for 49 states, including Massachusetts.

After walking into the meeting, they shook hands and spoke with the family of Matthew Denice, who Milford police say was killed Aug. 20 by an Ecuadorian citizen who was driving while intoxicated, and living in the United States illegally.

Almeida Stein spoke only briefly, telling officials she had requested the meeting, "to talk to you, to see how we can work together." The Ecuadorians living in Milford, she said, need to understand the rules and the laws, and abide by them.

"They are here and they have to respect the laws," she said.

In comments he made, at greater length, Calle said the solutions to illegal immigration are complex, and will include changing the economics that are encouraging people to leave Ecuador. "You know the reality of immigration, people move to other countries because they don't have opportunities where they are leaving."

For those who would suggest that Ecuadorians who are in the U.S. illegally should "leave overnight," Calle said: "That is something that is not in our hands. Even if we wanted to do it. "

The comments of the officials sometimes frustrated some in the audience, who occasionally cat-called, or called out in anger.

The family of , interviewed following the meeting, said they felt the officials' visit was intended to relieve pressure on the Ecuadorian community — not to offer concrete solutions. They were also upset that the officials arrived 30 minutes late to the session.

"If they have no action plan, if they don't have any authority to change anything, why were they here tonight?" said Michael Denice, 25, Matthew's older brother.

"They're here so they could smooth things over," he said. "I think they came here to take pressure off the Ecuadorian community."

Maureen Maloney, Matthew's mother, said more of a disincentive is needed for people who are arrested for driving without a license — one of the many charges facing Nicolas Dutan Guaman, who has been charged in her son's death.

She described her family as "broken" by the death of her youngest son. "I hope we get justice for Matt," she said. "[But] nothing is going to bring my son back."

Milford officials said they hoped the meeting would begin a process of communication, and encouraged the Ecuadorian officials to meet with local officials individually, to help resolve some of the pressures on the community, in areas such as housing, the court system, and public safety.

Milford Police estimate about 2,000 Ecuadorians are living in Milford, a town of about 25,000 according to the .

Dino DeBartolomeis, chairman of the Milford Selectmen, told the officials he wanted to see a followup report within a month, after they meet with officials including Police Chief Thomas O'Loughlin, Schools Superintendent Robert Tremblay, and other community representatives.

The 45-minute meeting — which came at the request of Almeida Stein — will begin a process of better communication, DeBartolomeis said.

The town, he told them, is a proud, tightknit community built on waves of immigration.

"We have a problem with illegal immigration," he said. "We have a problem with people excessively drinking. We have a problem with people driving without licenses. And we have a problem with people who are here illegally, doing illegal activities."

Prior to the meeting, a crowd estimated at 200 people stood outside Milford Town Hall, in a drenching rain, to protest illegal immigration.

The demonstrators included Maureen Laquerre, whose brother, Richard Grossi, was killed in 2009, she said, in a collision with a woman who was later deported, without serving a sentence in the U.S.

Laquerre said she didn't care if it was pouring. She held a sign, with a photograph of her brother, and a message expressing frustration over a lack of justice in his case. She came "to support [the family of Matthew Denice]. To see that the same thing doesn't happen. That this [Nicolas Dutan] Guaman be prosecuted for this."

Cappuccino September 09, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Thanks, Jim. I've been at this since 1970! Democracy requires eternal vigilance. I called you & left a message. Will try again later, since I'm at work right now
Jim Rizoli September 09, 2011 at 05:45 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM Sorry I missed your call had to get a sticker for my van....you know stickers that illegals seem to get even with a junk car...LOL Incredible they can even put their cars on the road but they do. Of Course we do have the 'Elite" illegals that drive around in 60,000 lexus's etc... Now explain that one to me.....Cash businesses that's why. Hard to believe we live in a country that the foreigners have more than us. And they laugh all the way to the bank...in this country, and back home.
Jim Rizoli September 12, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Jim Rizoli CCFIILE.COM If you think the Selectmen are going to get a handle on your illegal alien problem in the town than think again. The Selectmen are just tongue wavers, the police Chief doesn't have the guts to make life harder for the illegals and the apathy of the town is going to do you in. They stalled you for another month hoping you'd forget about it all. It appears to be working...sad to say.
Martha September 13, 2011 at 06:52 PM
I am an Irish American who is "madrina" to a little girl whose family emigrated to the U.S. illegally from Ecuador. Our Godchild was born in the U.S. 10 years ago. My husband and I had met the family when the mother was cleaning our house and decided to help them due to some physical disabilities of the children. We love them as if they were our own blood. Let me say this, all Ecuadorian immigrants! I welcome you here and understand why you had to come here! But DO NOT think you are fine drinking to excess or drunk driving! We ALL HUMANS are responsible for our behavior! No one has the right to ever, ever drink and drive! I happen to know that heavy drinking is rampant in the Ecuadorian community. It was that way in the Irish community at one time. You must stop the heaving drinking and NEVER drive if you have even had 2 small drinks! A car is a weapon if you have alcohol in your body! If I moved illegally to your country, to Ecuador, and drank and drove, how would you feel about me? You would, I hope, be disgusted with me and very angry. If you were smart, you'd arrest me and put me into jail and into mandatory drunk driving counseling for a long time. Please! Not all Americans are prejudiced. We just feel that you must behave in a RESPONSIBLE MANNER. My heart goes out so much to that family who lost their son due to an Ecuadorian immigrant who had the arrogance and lack of kindness to drink and drive. CHANGE YOURSELVES, POR FAVOR!! Martha
Cappuccino September 14, 2011 at 02:12 PM
We REALLY need to educate ourselves about the big picture. I just watched these very professional lectures. Take some time to link to these short videos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DFPKNdYFkE&NR=1

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