Words matter in immigration debate

The political divide over immigration is wide, and it can be seen clearly in the words people use to describe those at the center of the debate.

The Eagle-Tribune reported on Monday that the deportation push by the Trump administration is creating a climate of fear among the city’s immigrants and driving many of them into hiding. Throughout the article, the targets of Trump’s deportation push are referred to as undocumented immigrants.

A Lowell Sun editorial refers both to undocumented immigrants and illegal immigrants. The editorial asks why it’s good government to check the criminal backgrounds of people applying to be Uber and Lyft drivers but it’s irresponsible, irrational, racist, and dehumanizing to vet “illegal immigrants” to see if they have committed serious crimes.

“If Bay State citizens can be vetted in order to drive for Uber, why can’t undocumented immigrants be subject to the same, equal treatment for living in our neighborhoods?” the editorial asked.

While news outlets have struggled with the best way to describe people who entered this country without going through the formal immigration process, politicians use the words that best fit their needs.

During a panel discussion last week at the UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, the issue bubbled to the surface. Emily Norton, a city councilor in Newton and the Massachusetts director of the Sierra Club, angrily attacked Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson for repeatedly using the term illegal immigrants.

“To call them illegals and treat them like garbage, it’s just not right,” Norton said. “Life is not black and white. This issue is not black and white,” she said, adding that most “undocumented immigrants” in this country are fleeing violence in their home countries caused by the drug trade, which in turn is fueled by drug consumption in the United States.

Hodgson, however, refused to budge. “It’s a crime — no ifs, ands, or buts about it — to come across the border without going through our immigration process. That’s a fact,” he said. “It’s not an insult to say to a person you’re here illegally. You can say undocumented, but the truth is they’re here illegally because they violated the law. I could say a bank robber is an undocumented withdrawer, but the reality is the person committed a crime and it’s illegal.”

–BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Holly Robichaud offers a pointed critique of the opaque House budget process, which begins today with the release of the Ways and Means Committee spending plan. (Boston Herald)

Berkshire lawmakers agree to push for a single-payer health system. (Berkshire Eagle)

Thirteen of the state’s 14 sheriffs sign onto an op-ed calling for an increase in the marijuana excise tax to fund addiction services. (Brockton Enterprise)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Special delivery: Mayor Marty Walsh will propose exempting Millennium Partners’ Winthrop Square tower from a Boston ordinance governing shadows cast on Boston Common, but will stipulate that no other projects will get such a pass. (Boston Globe)

Haverhill, known as a Gateway City, sets out to become a Prospect City. (Eagle-Tribune)

Worcester’s Midtown Mall is holding back the city’s renaissance, officials say. (MassLive)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

A Globe editorial does not think much of wonder son-in-law Jared Kushner and the broad portfolio of global assignments he’s been given without qualifications or background for any of the duties.

The CitiStat and StateStat programs that have spread across the nation are having difficulty hanging on in their birthplaces — Baltimore and Maryland. (Governing)

ELECTIONS

Several black leaders in Boston say City Councilor Tito Jackson is getting unfairly harsh treatment from the media in his campaign to unseat Mayor Marty Walsh. (Boston Herald)

A storyline that doesn’t go away: Attorney General Maura Healey insists she’s not running for governor, but the crowds she draws to town meetings she’s been holding make her Democrats’ best hope.

Jake Auchincloss, the Newton city councilor, lays out what he thinks the state Democratic Party platform should say. (CommonWealth)

Two congressional races in Kansas and Georgia may serve as a barometer of anti-Trump sentiment. (NPR)

EDUCATION

At least 20 classes scheduled to be offered this summer and more in the fall were abruptly cancelled by the University of Massachusetts Boston as the campus continues to be roiled by woes related to a budget deficit. (Boston Globe)

Meet Rachel Skerritt, the new headmaster at Boston Latin School. (Boston Globe)

All seven members of the faculty Senate resigned at Gordon College in apparent protest of the Christian school denying tenure to a faculty member who says the decision was based on her criticism of the Wenham college’s opposition to same-sex relationships. (Boston Globe)

John Hockridge, chairman of the Berkshire Education Task Force, says hard choices must be made as the area’s population declines and fewer kids head for school. (CommonWealth)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The state Department of Corrections is treating 1,250 inmates for hepatitis C at a cost of $12,000 to $20,000 per person. (Salem News)

A second study conducted by the Pioneer Institute mirrors the first — hospital prices are not transparent to consumers. (MassLive)

Lowell General Hospital, Lowell Community Health Center, and Fallon HealthCare form an accountable care organization to serve Medicaid patients. (Lowell Sun)

TRANSPORTATION

Andy Monat of TransitMatters says it’s time to change the mindset about commuter rail. (CommonWealth)

CRRC’s new plant in Springfield to build subway cars is likely to get more work and more workers as the company signs deals with Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and possibly New York City. (MassLive)

A Herald editorial takes a dim view of the hopes of advocates and pols to restore features of the Green Line Extension, such as the pedestrian footpath, that have been scrapped to keep its costs under control.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Massachusetts shouldn’t wait for the federal government and should help finance climate change projects abroad, say Barbara Kates-Garnick, Peter Fox-Penner, and Benito Muller. (CommonWealth)

Worcester, on the hook for an estimated $25 million cleanup of a contaminated site, agrees to buy the property from its private owners for $3 million and retain the area as open space. (Telegram & Gazette)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Sen. Linda Forry, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu have all donated to the legal defense fund set up for embattled Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix Arroyo, who has been suspended by Trial Court officials because of allegations of mismanagement of his office. (Boston Herald)

Alleged Quincy con man Scott Wolas was nabbed in Florida. (Patriot Ledger)

MEDIA

New York Times media writer Jim Rutenberg asks whether Bill O’Reilly can survive at Fox News.

  • Mhmjjj2012

    The Boston Globe’s article on how 20+ classes at UMass Boston were cancelled for budget reasons really gave some insight on the university’s decision making. Apparently, many of those cancelled classes are required for graduation which could cause a delay in students receiving their degrees. What’s UMass Boston’s four year graduation rate? 17%. That means 83% of students enrolled full-time in four year degree programs do not have a Bachelor’s Degree at the four year mark. Cutting required classes certainly won’t improve that dismal 17% four year graduation rate. As far as saving money by cutting those summer and fall class offerings, adjunct professors were set to teach some of the cancelled classes which would actually “generate revenue” for UMass. But that’s not all. While UMass Boston has a “hiring freeze,” a former state legislator, Tom Sannicandro, landed a $165,000 job as director for the school’s Institute for Community Inclusion. Supposedly his job is funded by grants…that makes it OK to skirt the hiring freeze.