The domino effect of illegal immigration, brought to the forefront most recently by the death of Milford 23-year-old , has selectmen seeking a meeting with immigration officials and reviewing options to keep residents and businesses from employing undocumented workers.
In response to correspondence with government officials about the town’s support of the , Selectman Brian Murray went a step further, earning the support of his board to request a meeting with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
“We need to have officials from ICE here…we need to explain to them in very explicit and frank terms what’s going on in the town of Milford,” Murray said. “Milford police cannot deport anybody; the Board of Selectmen cannot deport anyone. ICE can. For some reason, there’s a disconnect here.”
Negative sentiment against the federal government’s seemingly lax immigration policies has run high since Nicolas Guaman was arrested in the death of the Denice, who was riding his motorcycle home Aug. 20, when Guaman , dragging him a quarter mile to his death. Guaman had a previous in Milford, and many have argued that if he were deported after his initial brushes with the law, Denice would still be alive.
Murray noted that a passenger in Guaman’s truck the night of the fatal crash was also an illegal immigrant, taken into custody by ICE officials and released days later.
“To me, it’s just unimaginable that the federal authority would have an illegal and not take action upon that individual,” Murray said.
Selectman William Buckley supported Murray’s request to meet with ICE, and also asked the board to seek a larger meeting with legislators, Ecuador's consul general in Boston and the Denice family.
He also said the town needs to look within its borders for issues that exacerbate the illegal immigration problem: namely, the hiring of illegal immigrants.
“I would like to ask (town) counsel to provide an information sheet that educates residents what they’re allowed to do...to ensure they’re hiring people that are legally able to work in this country,” Buckley said. “Hiring (certain) contractors, roofers, plumbers…that can be part of the problem. Some hire neighbors as contractors; the next thing they know there are people suddenly on their property doing the work who don’t speak English. The work gets subcontracted.”
If employers weren’t offering work to illegal immigrants, Buckley said, “I’m not sure how big a problem Milford would have.”
Concern about illegal immigration in Milford isn’t new; in fact, selectmen said, they met with ICE officials several years ago.
“When we talk about all these things (issues surrounding illegal immigration), very rarely are we talking about situations where people are dying in our community,” Buckley said. “This is the third such case in recent years.”