The Massachusetts Republican Party needs to clarify it's position on undocumented rape victims immediately, and State Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) needs to apologize and perhaps even resign.
There has been a national outcry after Rep. Fattman declared to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that an undocumented rape victim "should be afraid to come forward" and report the crime. His attempts to clarify his statements offerred no apology, and did not clarify whether an undocumented rape victim should be deported for reporting the crime to local police. Rep. Fattman's statements effectively encourage predators to prey on unauthorized migrants, and he's discouraging victims to come forward. If Rep. Fattman cannot use his public office responsibly then perhaps it is time for him to resign.
This issue get's to the heart of the debate over the implementation of Secure Communities in Massachusetts and around the nation: whether we should be turning our local police into border patrol agents. The Massachusetts Republican Party owes it to the public to clarify it's position on this issue.
Like it or not, unauthorized migrants are a part of our communities. The vast majority commit crimes at much lesser rates than the native born. Many have lived in the U.S. for over a decade, have built families, and have become an integral part of our economy and culture. Unauthorized migrants build our houses, put food on our tables, keep our gardens green, and sit in our classrooms.
Asking the Massachusetts Republican Party to clarify it's position on undocumented rape victims is not disingenous, it gets to the heart of the debate over Secure Communities. It was an undocumented domestic violence victim, Maria Bolaños, who most courageously illustrated the problem with Secure Communities by confronting the director of the program, David Venturella. Is it the Massachusetts Republican Party's position that domestic violence victims like Bolaños should be afraid to report crimes to local police? In Massachusetts, unauthorized migrants have been the targets of people posing to be ICE agents only to tie them up and rob them, should unauthorized migrants be deported should they choose to report these crimes?
The worst part of Rep. Fattman's statements and refusal to apologize is the message it sends to people praying on unauthorized migrants, and those who might otherwise have the courage to stand up to them by speaking with the local police. It is time for the Massachusetts Republican Party to clarify it's stand on this issue, and perhaps it is time for Rep. Fattman to resign if he refuses to use his position as a public official to speak responsibly on these extremely important issues.