Immigration

Immigration

This post is the fourth of a twelve-part series to publicize candidate answers to our Electoral Questionnaire. Candidates were required to answer all questions to be eligible for Boston DSA’s endorsement.

Boston DSA will vote on endorsements at the July 21st General Meeting.

This section asks candidates about legal aid for noncitizens, compassion for immigrants, ICE’s use of for profit prisons, not cooperating with ICE, abolishing ICE, drivers licenses for all residents, and bilingual education.

Would you introduce legislation to prevent state and local officials, including law enforcement, from sharing information with ICE?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes- pass The Safe Communities Act!

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, absolutely. I will not just endorse but also introduce and champion legislation similar to the Safe Communities Act. I will also incorporate ways to prevent information sharing from one institution to another, ensuring that the school system, the health care system, and any other institution whose mission is not related to immigration enforcement does not share information. Priority number one is to keep families together; however, we also need to make sure that families feel safe enough to have their children at school and take care of their health needs.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. And I’m more than willing to work with advocates to explore other ways to protect Massachusetts families.

Would you support state funding for legal aid for noncitizens in deportation proceedings?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes.

Darryn Remillard

  • Yes. I take the right to due process seriously! We have American citizens who the age of my 3 year old daughter whose parents (who are undocumented) are at risk of deportation and deserve legal representation.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • Yes, a basic tenet of our justice system is supposed to be that everyone has a right to representation, although in certain immigration cases that isn’t required. The process is already confusing and horrifying enough for noncitizens, and legal aid could reduce the confusion and trauma.

Ture Turnbull

  • Yes

Darrin Howell

  • Yes. It’s “due process of law,” not “due process if you happened to be born in Cambridge to a white, christian family who has all their papers in order going back a hundred years.”

Deferred Action for Parents of Americans was held up for two years under Obama and entirely rescinded under Trump – what is your plan for programs extending simple human compassion to immigrants who have been attacked under the current administration?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • All of the above and more. I am running for this office because I understand that state legislatures are intended to serve as a check and a balance against the excesses of the federal government, and the current legislature is failing in this critical constitutional duty. We must step up to protect not just immigrants, but every group attacked by this administration as well as our environment, our free press, our schools and hospitals. It’s overwhelming. But simple human compassion can be our guiding principle. Leaders must not only speak boldly and courageously in the language of compassion and care, but also stand with those who need it and their allies. I will speak out, introduce legislation, and do everything in my power to protect everyone in our state.

Darryn Remillard

  • Pass The Safe Communities Act!

Segun Idowu

  • I support the provision of sanctuary and social services for immigrants.

Nika Elugardo

  • The current administration and immigrant policies are inhumane and don’t treat immigrants with dignity. In addition to demanding that our federal representatives pass DAPA, we must task local authorities (civil, public safety, judicial) with keeping families together to the fullest extent possible under local law and not allow cooperation with federal authorities who are attempting to break up families.

Ture Turnbull

  • I support all legislation that reaches out to our immigrant populations. Immigrants make our communities stronger and more vibrant and we should protect that diversity and energy by caring for those who need us to reach out. Immigrants are coming here for a better life and we in the Commonwealth, as the birthplace of this nation, should be leading the way by passing legislation that creates a path to citizenship and the support needed to live happy, healthy and productive lives in our state.

Darrin Howell

  • We need immigration policies that are compassionate, based in human dignity, and recognize the realities of people’s lives here and in other countries. Period. I plan to do all I can to support the work of MIRA, the Student Immigrant Movement and other local and national organizations who are driving these issues forward. Just tell me what I can do and where I can be most helpful and I’m there!

Government contracts and ICE funds are currently being funneled into the for profit prison industry. What is your position on this and what action will you take to reverse it, if any?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I oppose the privatization of public services, period. No one should be profiting from human suffering and I support legislation to prevent for-profit prisons from doing business in Massachusetts.

Darryn Remillard

  • No state funds should EVER be directed to for-profit prisons. For-profit prisons are a moral atrocity and should be illegal.

Segun Idowu

  • I believe that ICE in its current form should be abolished, as should the private prison industry.

Nika Elugardo

  • Massachusetts has zero for-profit prisons, and I will strongly oppose any efforts to contract with for-profit prisons. However, we must guard against both the expansion of prisons and the growing privatization of parts of the public prison system, such as health care (including mental health care), prison canteens, education, and other parts of the system that can have a huge impact on the lives of people who are incarcerated and their eventual successful reentry. I know that at least some of this is occurring and needs scrutiny to safeguard the basic dignity and rights of people who are incarcerated. However, we don’t have control over how ICE or federal agencies spend their money. Elected officials in Massachusetts have a duty to publicize the problem and demand that the federal government change this policy.

Ture Turnbull

  • I completely oppose ICE and additionally, believe the industrial prison complex is a morally corrupt institution. This funneling of money, therefore, stands in direct opposition to my beliefs and requires action now. We need to take a look at the state’s funding and begin dismantling and contracts which are based in greed and are harmful to any resident of the Commonwealth.

Darrin Howell

  • The prison-industrial complex that has formed around our broken justice system may very well be the height of both systemic oppression and corporate welfare in America. Not only do we engage in mass incarceration of our brothers and sisters, but we pay multinational, profit-driven companies to do it. And on top of all that, these corporations force prisoners to labor on behalf of the institution, driving even greater profits into the pockets of their shareholders. All on the backs of primarily black and brown bodies. Slavery may have technically ended 150+ years ago, but that sounds an awful lot like the plantation to me!
    I oppose spending public dollars to build, maintain or otherwise subsidize for-profit prisons. I will do whatever I can to roll back any existing programs that benefit the Corrections Corporation of America or other private prison operators. And if in our bounds, I will push to ban the operation of privatized prisons or any other entity that seeks to forcibly profit on the shoulders of marginalized communities.

Attorney General Sessions is encouraging state and local law enforcement to not only cooperate with ICE, but to take on responsibilities that fall under ICE entirely. What is your position on state and local law enforcement cooperating with ICE? What action, if any, would you take to prevent it?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I support the Safe Communities Act and all legislation that would prevent state and local law enforcement from serving as an arm of ICE. I will stand with communities against ICE and speak out in support of the Safe Communities Act and work with the progressive caucus to enact it.

Darryn Remillard

  • Simple- pass The Safe Communities Act!

Segun Idowu

  • As stated above, I support, and will push for passage of, the Safe Communities Act, which would prevent this type of cooperation. State and local law enforcement should not be involved in the enforcement of federal law. If holding such a position entails consequences, so be it.

Nika Elugardo

  • I strongly support passing rigorous Safe Communities protections to ensure local law enforcement isn’t cooperating with ICE. I would reject any attempts to have local law enforcement carry out activities that fall under ICE. I would support legislation with enforcement mechanisms to ensure that local law enforcement doesn’t cooperate with ICE and that they face penalties if they do.

Ture Turnbull

  • I do not believe that our local or state enforcement officers fall under ICE’s jurisdiction. That being said, if our local enforcement is aiding ICE, state funding sources should be held.

Darrin Howell

  • Whether by statute, charter or ordinance, local police forces were created to keep local communities safe, nothing more, nothing less. Our municipal police departments and county sheriff’s offices have no business carrying out the dirty work of ICE or other federal immigration enforcement. And most law enforcement officials agree that cooperating with ICE is actually harmful to community safety. People are afraid to come forward and report crime in their neighborhoods, including victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. We must start by passing the Safe Communities Act immediately, and from there explore every possible avenue to detach ourselves from the dehumanizing actions of federal immigration officials.

What is your position on the existence of ICE? Do you believe it should be abolished?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Yes. This is the only sane response to the insanity and inhumanity that we are seeing.

Darryn Remillard

  • ICE must be abolished, but the entirety of the Department of Homeland Security must be dismantled.

Segun Idowu

  • Yes.

Nika Elugardo

  • ICE and DHS were established after 9/11 in a context of xenophobia and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has been harmful to our neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, and nation. I believe that we should abolish ICE. Immigration is an issue of justice and not of “security.”

Ture Turnbull

  • I believe ICE is being used as the “gestapo” of the Trump administration and should be abolished.

Darrin Howell

  • I believe ICE should be abolished in its current form. Nothing about our immigration policies today makes sense. We’re not talking about regulating goods coming in and out of the country. These are human beings who deserve dignity and respect. This system offers neither, by any definition.

What is your position on providing drivers’ licenses to Massachusetts residents regardless of documentation status?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • Massachusetts residents should be able to get driver’s licenses regardless of their documentation status.

Darryn Remillard

  • Fully support.

Segun Idowu

  • As mentioned earlier, I am for providing drivers’ licenses and other forms of identification to undocumented peoples

Nika Elugardo

  • I am very much in favor of providing all Massachusetts residents with drivers’ licenses and think it’s an important step in supporting our immigrant families. We must be careful to guard any data we collect in this process from federal authorities.

Ture Turnbull

  • I support providing drivers’ licenses to all residents of the Commonwealth, no matter their documentation status.

Darrin Howell

  • I support making drivers’ licenses available to all Massachusetts residents, regardless of status.

What is your position on providing state support & funding for bilingual education?

Gretchen Van Ness

  • I support it. We are lucky to have children from all over the world living in Boston and we need to make education accessible to them.

Darryn Remillard

  • Fully support.

Segun Idowu

  • We need to fully fund our public education system, period. This includes fully reimbursing cities and towns for what they pay out for charter schools, as well as fully investing in bilingual education.

Nika Elugardo

  • I support funding bilingual education. It’s clear that students who are non-native speakers of English do not get the attention and education they need in English-only instruction. In fact, research shows that dual-language programs can support both native and non-native speakers of English in everything from executive functioning to reading (English) to gaining competencies in diverse, inclusive environments.

Ture Turnbull

  • Bilingual education will benefit all students, regardless of cultural background, and should be state supported as part of our public education system.

Darrin Howell

  • We offer nowhere near enough support for students who face language barriers in our schools. We must invest in programs that specifically target children and adults for whom English is a second language. I’ve yet to hear a plausible argument for why shouldn’t. It makes sense for our education system, our economy and our society.

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