Massachusetts Migrant Rights
The years following the termination of bilingual education programs in Massachusetts saw an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment across the nation. As a result, pressure mounted in the commonwealth’s House of Representatives to develop legislation aimed at limiting undocumented immigration, seen by some as both a national security threat and a financial burden on the nation. In 2005, in a
vote that fell primarily along political party lines, the House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 239 to 182, Bill 4437 the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act. Among other provisions, if enacted, this piece of legislation would prohibit the aiding of undocumented immigrants and make it a felony to enter the United States without documentation.
Though this legislation targeted all undocumented migrants, it primarily affected the Latino community. Initial protests occurred throughout the nation on April 9 and 10, 2006, drawing a crowd of 8,000 in Massachusetts. A second national protest, planned to coincide with May Day in 2006, received very little coverage and attention in Massachusetts.6 Regardless of the subdued showing in Boston, these protests pressured Congress to let the bill die on the Senate floor and demonstrated the activism of the Latino community both in Massachusetts and throughout the country.
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