Alleged MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Re-Entry of Deported Alien

Alleged MS-13 Member Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Re-Entry of Deported Alien

An alleged member of MS-13 pleaded guilty Jan. 11 in federal court in Boston to an immigration charge.

Elenilson Gonzalez-Gonzalez, a/k/a “Siniestro,” 31, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for April 5, 2018.

Following a lengthy investigation, Gonzalez-Gonzalez was one of 61 defendants named in a superseding indictment targeting the activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of the transnational criminal organization, La Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13.

Gonzalez-Gonzalez is the 27th defendant to plead guilty in this case.

In December 2015, during the course of the investigation, law enforcement encountered Gonzalez-Gonzalez near Deer Island National Park in Winthrop. Further investigation revealed that in May 2012, Gonzalez-Gonzalez had been apprehended by U.S. Customers and Border Patrol agents illegally entering the United States near Mission, Texas.

At that time, Gonzalez-Gonzalez admitted that he was a Salvadoran national who had entered the country illegally and was attempting to make his way to the Boston area. He was subsequently removed from the United States in 2012 on an expedited basis. Gonzalez-Gonzalez later re-entered the United States and was charged with illegal reentry after deportation.

The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than two years in prison, one year of supervised release, and up to a fine of $250,000. Gonzalez-Gonzalez will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his federal sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

By AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Association of Mature American Citizens

Dear Rusty: I will be turning 62 in 2018; birth date 9/24/1955. My husband is 77 and receiving Social Security.  Longevity runs in my family. I have been self-employed all my life. I am still working and my husband collects a pension, Social Security and RMD from a traditional IRA, so there is no need for additional monies under my current circumstances. When should I start taking Social Security?   Signed:  Thinking about Retirement

Dear Thinking: The question of when to take Social Security normally gets an answer of “It depends on your health, your family history of longevity, and your need for the money”.  You’ve already addressed those items so I’ll focus on your main question – when should you start taking Social Security?

Even though you’ll be eligible to collect Social Security when you turn 62, if you do so you will only get 74.17% of the retirement benefit you would be entitled to at your full retirement age (FRA). Whenever you apply, you will be deemed to be filing not only for your own retirement benefit but also any spousal benefit you may be entitled to from your husband’s work record. Similar to your SS retirement benefit, your spousal benefit would also be reduced because you took it early; instead of being 50% of your husband’s benefit at your FRA, you would only get 35% at age 62 (if that is larger than your own retirement benefit). The point I’m making is that by claiming SS early, any benefit you’re entitled to will be reduced from what you would get at your full retirement age.

Just as you are penalized for claiming before your full retirement age, you are rewarded for waiting beyond it to claim Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, for each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be 8% higher than it would be at your FRA. That will continue up until you are 70 years old when your retirement benefit will be 30.67% higher than it would have been at your FRA. You stop earning additional credit at age 70, so there’s no reason to wait beyond that to apply. Let’s use an easy example to illustrate: If your FRA retirement benefit is $1000, by applying at age 62 you would only get $741 per month instead of $1000. But if you wait until you are 70 to claim benefits, you would get $1306 per month, nearly twice what you would get by applying at age 62.

There are two other factors you should incorporate into your thinking:

1) At your FRA, you will be entitled to ½ of your husband’s benefit at his FRA.  If your spousal benefit at your FRA is substantially more than your own retirement benefit, then applying at your FRA may be a good strategy, as opposed to waiting and earning delayed retirement credits.

 2) Once you have reached your FRA you will be entitled to 100% of your husband’s benefit amount if he should predecease you. If your eventual survivor’s benefit would be more than your own FRA benefit amount, you might be better served by claiming your retirement benefit earlier than age 70.

As you can see, most of the answer to your question depends upon whether your benefits as a spouse or a survivor will be more than your benefit based upon your own work record. If not, then waiting beyond your FRA up to age 70 will yield you the maximum retirement benefit. But if your spouse and/or survivor’s benefit will be more than your own retirement benefits, then applying at your full retirement age may be the best strategy. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to www.ssa.gov and set up your personal “My Social Security” account which will give you access to your currently estimated retirement benefit. Comparing that to your potential spousal and survivor benefits should give you the answer you’re seeking.

The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.org.

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Housing Program Helps Families Survive Crisis Without Turning to Shelters

Housing Program Helps Families Survive Crisis Without Turning to Shelters

By Seth Daniel

The Metro Housing Boston organization reported this month that their transition assistance program for families in crisis helped 70 families in Chelsea with a total expenditure of $190,623 locally.

Outside of Boston, Chelsea was the one community where RAFT was utilized more than others. The next closest community was Malden with 47 families helped.

The Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program provides families with a small amount of cash assistance and provides an option to having to enter emergency shelter. Metro Housing Boston administers RAFT in Boston and 28 surrounding communities. With RAFT, eligible families can apply for up to $4,000 that can be used to help retain housing, get new housing, keep utilities on and to avoid homelessness. To qualify, a family cannot make more than 50 percent of the area median income, which in the 2017 Boston region was $46,550 for a family of three.

“Many families are living paycheck to paycheck,” red the report. “An unplanned expense can put their housing in jeopardy. RAFT provides a safety net for families to have something to fall back on when they are in crisis and need support.”

It is the fourth year that Metro Housing Boston has shared the data about the program, which is funded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Stating that Boston is one of the top five most expensive cities to live within in the United States, officials from Metro Housing Boston said such funding is extremely important for families with very low incomes to handle things like fires or other catastrophes that they cannot afford to plan for.

“For four years running, our reports continue to show the positive impacts of the RAFT program,” said Metro Housing Executive Director Christopher Norris. “For a relatively small investment, families in our region are able to stay in their communities near their children’s schools, their health providers, and their social networks. This is crucial to helping families maintain stability and achieve economic security.”

Overall, including Chelsea, the program likely saved 1,000 families from turning to a shelter – which also is estimated to have saved the state $31 million in emergency shelter funds. For the $3.8 million RAFT funding, 1,474 families were able to resolve housing crises.

With the continued commitment to funding by the state for RAFT, the program has been able to assist 60 percent more families than it did four years ago. However, this year the average benefit decreased by 3 percent to an average of $2,614 per client.

Also, a pilot program during FY17 expanded RAFT eligibility to include families of all sizes and configurations. Under this program, Metro Housing served 60 households, 31 of whom were individuals and 27 of whose head of household had a disability.

A vast majority of those receiving RAFT (48 percent) use it to pay rent that is in arrears. Some 20 percent use it to pay security deposits for a new apartment, and 11 percent use it for first/last months rent payments on a new apartment.

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Police Briefs 12-14-2017

Police Briefs 12-14-2017

POLICE INVESTIGATE SHOOTING

Chelsea Police Detectives are investigating a shooting on Dec. 7 that occurred in the vicinity of Shurtleff and Maverick Streets. The victim, a 35-year old male from Chelsea, was shot in the leg and is expected to recover from his injuries. Detectives believe it was not a random attack based on preliminary evidence gathered at the scene.

A male wearing a dark coat with red lettering on the back and gray sweatpants was seen fleeing the area.

If you have any information regarding this incident, you are asked to call Chelsea Police at 466-4800.

Chelsea Police remind the community they can report crimes or suspicious activity anonymously in various formats. Citizens can call the 24 hr “tips” line at 617-466-4880, email reports directly from the department’s website at www.chelseapolice.com or download for free the MYPD App that is compatible with both Android and Apple smartphones. All three ways are monitored and anonymous.

ARMED ROBBER CAUGHT

On Dec. 4, officers were dispatched to Broadway Mini Mart located at 944 Broadway on a report of an armed robbery. Responding officers observed a disturbance in the street involving a store clerk and one of the two reported robbers. The subject was placed into custody at the scene. Chelsea Detectives later charged the individual with two other armed robberies that occurred earlier in Chelsea.

A second individual involved was able to escape.

Samuel Valdez, 41, of Jamaica Plain, was charged with armed robbery while masked and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

SALVADORAN MAN DEPORTED

A Salvadoran national pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to illegally reentering the United States after deportation.

Gerardo Alberto Perez-Fuentes, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful reentry of a deported alien.  U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton scheduled sentencing for March 8, 2018.

Perez-Fuentes was previously deported on Oct. 8, 2015.  On Sept. 6, 2017, law enforcement in Chelsea encountered Perez-Fuentes and determined him to be illegally present in the United States.

The charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Perez-Fuentes will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Sullivan Jacobus of Weinreb’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting this case.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

On Dec. 4, at 7:08 p.m., a Chelsea Police officer was dispatched to Cross Street and Park Street for a motor vehicle accident with no reported injuries. Upon arrival there were two cars to the right side of the road on Cross Street and Park Street. The officer spoke to both operators and formed the opinion based on his training and experience that operator that caused the accident was operating under the influence of drugs. The officer developed probable cause based on her comments at the scene.

Sandra Pizzano, 56, of Saugus, was charged with operating under the influence of drugs and forging an RMV document.

BREAKING AND ENTERING

On Dec. 7, at 4:31 a.m., an alarm triggered at the Laundry-Wash, located at 14 Everett Ave. It was the third time the alarm had been triggered that night. Upon arrival, a male party was observed running from the area towards Kayem Foods. After a brief foot pursuit, the subject was arrested.

Rolando Arias, 43, of Revere, was charged with Breaking and entering in the night for a felony, possession of burglarious tools, and two counts of malicious destruction of property over $250.

ASSAULTED DRIVER

On Dec. 7, at 9:31 p.m., officers responded to Springvale Avenue on a report of a hit and run accident. The officers spoke to the victim who stated that while operating on Springvale Avenue towards Washington, he was struck in the rear by a male subject in a van. The victim stated he attempted to pull over, when he was struck a second time. At this time, the suspect did pull over and jumped out of his vehicle and began punching the victim’s driver side window. The suspect then jumped back in his car and fled towards Washington Avenue. Officers stopped the vehicle and placed the subject under arrest.

Cesar Garcia, 41, of 3 Springvale Ave., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, leaving the scene of property damage, and negligent operation.

(17-1269-AR)  

On Dec. 9, at 11:30 p.m., officers responded to Casa Mariachi on Everett Avenue for a report of unruly patrons refusing to leave. The security on scene told the officers that a female patron refused to leave and picked up shot glasses from the bar and threw them at a waitress, striking her in the shoulder. Officers placed the female in custody.

Keyla Flores, 22, of Everett, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shot glass) and disorderly conduct.

Police Log

Monday, 12/4/17

MOrge Nolasco, 31, 234 Bennington St., East Boston, was arrested for marked lane violation and operating under the influence of liquor.

Joanir DeOliveira, 31, 114 Highland Ave. Somerville, was arrested on a warrant.

Sandra Pizzano, 56, 335 Lynnfells Pkwy., Saugus, was arrested for operating under the influence of drugs, forged RMV document.

Samuel Valdez, 41, 50 Dimick St., Jamaica Plain, was arrested for armed & masked robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Wednesday, 12/6

Michael Leiva, 21, 24 Suffolk St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Thursday, 12/7

Rolando Arias, 43, 24 Shirley Ave., Revere, was arrested for breaking and entering for felony, possessing burglarious instrument, malicious destruction of property over $250 (2 counts).

Julie Maskell, 41, 2 Harris St., Revere, was arrested on a warrant.

Luis Martinez, 49, 108 Clark Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Brittany Lopes-Rattigan, 28, 2 Franklin Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.

Robert DelloFano, 37, 15 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Stacy Lightell, 43, 10 Jones Drive, Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.

Stanley Jeannis, 40, 21 Conn Ct. Woburn, was arrested on a warrant, distribution of Class B drug, drug violation near school/park, possessing Class B drug to distribute and possessing Class A drug to distribute.

Jimmall Marshall, 27, 45 Fourth St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant and distribution of Class B drug.

Henrique Castillo, 67, 195 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

Cesar Garcia, 41, 3 Springvale Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon, leaving scene of property damage and negligent operation of motor vehicle.

Friday, 12/8

Donne Agogo, 24, 6 Lewis St., Medford, was arrested for possessing to distribute Class B drug.

Robert Soroka, 43, 235 Revere St., Revere, was arrested on a warrant.

Saturday, 12/9

Javier Ortiz, 21, 110 Central Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for equipment violation on a motor vehicle and operating motor vehicle with open container of alcohol, operating with suspended/revoked license.

Rodrigo Yordi, 30, 13 Central St., East Boston, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Sebastian Yordi, 33, 133 Kimball Ave., Revere, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, leaving scene of property damage and improper operation of motor vehicle.

Jennifer Portillo, 23, 12 High St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Keyla Flores, 22, 10 Fremont St., Everett, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct.

Sunday, 12/10

Baplo Moncado-Diaz, 27, 200 Governor’s Dr., Winthrop, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Oliver Arevalo, 33, 815 Winthrop Ave., Revere, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

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Give Where You Live:Vukovic Launches Buy Nothing Program in City

Give Where You Live:Vukovic Launches Buy Nothing Program in City

By Cary Shuman

Sladja Vukovic.

Sladja Vukovic.

Cottage Street resident Sladja Vukovic is hoping to build community spirit in her neighborhood with a new project called Buy Nothing.

Vujovic is the administrator of the Chelsea Facebook group for the worldwide program in which neighbors give and receive free items from each other such as clothes, household goods, furniture, bicycles – really, anything is on the list.

“Currently we have 32 members in Chelsea,” said Vukovic, who is a realtor in Boston. “There are Facebook groups in many cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

Vukovic is originally from Bosnia and came to the United States in 2008. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice. She has lived in Chelsea since 2010. Her husband is former Chelsea High soccer star Vedran Vukovic, and they have a son, Banja.

The 31-year-old resident started the Buy Nothing group two months ago for residents in the southern half of Chelsea, spanning from Admiral’s Hill to Washington Avenue. She is looking for a resident to step forward and be the administrator for the northern half of Chelsea.

“Basically our goal is to give where you live,” said Vukovic. “If you have something that you want to give to someone or if you have something you want to lend – like a jacket – you post it on a Facebook page, and if anyone else needs it, they’re going to reply and take that item for free.”

The time period for giving and lending can vary from item to item.

“Let’s say I need to borrow something for a weekend, you can ask for it and someone can volunteer to give it you,” said Vukovic.

Buy Nothing can also provide free services such as lawn mowing, house painting, snow plowing, landscaping or even learning a new language. Vukovic speaks English, Serbian, and Spanish.

“You can’t advertise your business in the program, but if you have a service for free that you want to provide, you can do that,” she explained.

Vukovic is trying to increase the number of members in the Facebook group through marketing and personal contacts with her neighbors.

“Somerville has more than 500 members,” she said. “But they’ve been doing it longer than we have.”

The overall mission of the program, according to Vukovic, is to give items to neighbors and strengthen the bonds in the neighborhood.

“I was looking for groups on Facebook and the Buy Nothing project seemed like a great neighborhood-strengthening group,” she said. “I searched it Chelsea and found out that the city didn’t have it. So I became an administrator and here we have it.”

Vukovic is considering an appearance during the a City Council meeting to help publicize the group.

“My goal is for people to get know about this project,” she said. “I think it’s a great way for people who have something to give, to give it to someone else for free.”

(For more information, please go to Facebook and search for: buynothingchelseasouth,ma)

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MS-13 Member Who Killed Innocent Mother Pleads Guilty

MS-13 Member Who Killed Innocent Mother Pleads Guilty

An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Thursday, Oct. 26, in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery.

The defendant admitted responsibility for murdering an innocent bystander, attempted murder of rival gang member and armed robbery.

The murder of the innocent bystander occurred in 2014 when the gang member shot at a rival gang member and missed, instantly killing a woman in her home who had  simply looked out the front window. The woman was the mother of three children and was in refuge from a domestic violence situation.

Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo,” 24, a Honduran national formerly of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.  U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2018.  According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will jointly recommend a sentence of 27 years in prison.

Ramires was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts.  On Oct. 18, 2014, Ramires and Bryan Galicia Barillas a/k/a “Chucky,” a fellow member of MS-13’s ECS clique, were walking the streets of Chelsea when they encountered a group of rival gang members.  Ramires, who was armed, shot at one of the gang rivals and missed, killing a woman who was an innocent bystander who was looking out a nearby window of a room she shared with her three children.  Barillas was also charged and previously pleaded guilty to, among other things, providing Ramires with the gun.

Ramires also accepted responsibility for his role in a March 28, 2014, attempted murder of a rival gang member in Chelsea, and an April 9, 2014, armed robbery in Chelsea.

After a three-year investigation, Ramires was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts.

Ramires is the 22nd defendant to plead guilty in this case and will subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Eastie MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking,Possession of a Firearm

Eastie MS-13 Leader Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for RICO Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking,Possession of a Firearm

The leader of MS-13’s East Boston Loco Salvatrucha clique was sentenced this week in federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy involving an aggravated assault, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Santos Portillo Andrade, a/k/a “Flaco,” 33, a Salvadoran national residing in Revere, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 10 years in prison and four years of supervised release. He will also be subject to deportation hearings upon completion of his sentence. In June 2017, Portillo agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and admitted responsibility for an aggravated assault on an individual he believed was a rival gang member in Malden in December 2008. Portillo also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and 500 grams or more of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

After a three-year investigation, Portillo was one of 61 defendants named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts.  He is the 19th defendant to be sentenced in the case.

Portillo was the leader of the East Boston Loco Salvatrucha clique of MS-13.  According to court documents, MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence against rival gang members to gain promotions and maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder rival gang members whenever possible.

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Trump Sends DACA to Congress, Hundreds in Chelsea Vulnerable

Trump Sends DACA to Congress, Hundreds in Chelsea Vulnerable

By Seth Daniel

Hundreds of young people and families in Chelsea were put on edge Tuesday when President Donald Trump announced he would end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – though with the caveat of keeping it intact for six months to allow Congress to attempt to enact a law.

The DACA program prevents the deportation of people brought to the United States illegally by their parents when they were under the age of 16. When President Barack Obama initiated it in 2012 via executive order, it allowed young people to do things they had not been able to do previously, like getting student loans, working legally and qualify for other programs. Anyone with a criminal record, however, was barred from qualifying for the program.

Now, all of that is up in the air for many people.

Joana (whose last name is shielded) is a freshman at Northeast Voke and a resident of Chelsea who said she has family and friends who are now in flux due to the decision – as well as the uncertainty as to whether Congress will act in the next six months.

“I feel like it wasn’t a very thoughtful decision because most of the kids in Chelsea are from other countries,” she said, noting that she has family who are in the DACA program. “It feels scary because you don’t know what is going to happen to a loved one. It’s a wait and see situation and something bad could happen in seconds, minutes, hours, months or even years…I find it all very pointless because families are scared and they tried everything in their power to bring their children here and all the sudden that opportunity they found so hard for is going away. They have sacrificed everything to get kids here and now that opportunity could end.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was discouraged by the decision also, knowing that hundreds of Chelsea residents are enrolled in DACA and now find themselves in limbo as they wait to see if Congress will do anything.

“It is incredibly discouraging that our President is prepared to terminate a program that has been so beneficial and meaningful to childhood arrivals, many of whom have no knowledge of nor connection to their native land,” he said. “I’m hopeful that Congress will act quickly to remedy this unnecessary and heartless executive action.”

Supt. Mary Bourque said she has put out letters to parents and students, as well as guidance to staff and teachers about how to handle the anxiety around the decision, which affects so many Chelsea students and their families.

“Many of our students and their family members are DACA immigrants consistently contributing to our community and therefore our country,” she wrote. “We support our students and their dream for a future in the United States. I want to reaffirm to our Chelsea Schools community that the Chelsea Public Schools is committed to our mission statement, ‘We Welcome and Educate ALL Students and Families.’”

Bourque also affirmed to all parents that the schools are safe havens from immigration enforcement if, indeed, the program ends after six months.

“Our schools have been deemed by our Chelsea School Committee as Safe Havens for all students to learn and thrive,” she wrote. “It is through education that the doors of opportunity are opened for all our students. We, as the Chelsea School Community will continue to advocate for and support our students and their families as they embrace the American Dream through education. We will work on behalf of our students and families alongside our community based organizations and legislators in the coming weeks and months.”

Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger also reaffirmed a similar viewpoint in a letter signed by all of the state’s community college presidents.

“Those with DACA status attend and graduate from our K-12 schools and benefit from the ability to attend excellent post-secondary education in order to bring the skills and credentials needed in our workforce today,” read the letter. “Individuals with DACA status live in our communities, pay taxes, and are ready and willing to continue to positively contribute to our local economies and communities. Ending DACA and subjecting these individuals to deportation not only contradicts our shared values and the inherent principles in our educational missions, but also threatens the economic well being of our region, state, and country.

“We remain committed to meeting the needs of every person who walks through our doors looking to learn and achieve, regardless of their immigration status,” it continued. “We stand together to fight for the continued protection of all the young people with and eligible for DACA.”

The Trump decision did allow for anyone with a DACA permit expiring between now and March 5, 2018 to re-apply for another two-year renewal – giving protection through 2019. The application for renewal must be submitted by Oct. 5, 2017.

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DACA Should be Kept

DACA Should be Kept

By Joana of Citizen Schools

Have you heard anything about DACA and/or DAPA?  DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA is an American immigration policy founded by the Obama administration in June 2012. Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents sometimes called Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, is a planned American immigration policy to grant deferred action status to certain undocumented immigrants. DAPA and DACA give immigrants opportunities such as employment, but there are some downsides to DACA and DAPA that affect many immigrants. DACA and DAPA programs do too little to protect undocumented immigrants while allowing them to legally stay in the US because their rights can be easily taken away and they don’t know if they can get citizenship. But others, like Republicans think that immigrants get too much support because there is too much spent on the immigrants.

 The first reason that DACA and DAPA programs do too little to protect undocumented immigrants because their rights can be easily taken away. Trump wants to impact immigrant’s lives in a negative way, “…striking Obama’s executive action on immigration are among his top priorities according to Trump’s 10-point plan to put America first,” (Chicago Sun-Times). This shows that at any given moment, Trump might announce that he will remove these programs unexpectedly, impacting many immigrants. The American Immigration council says, “As of December 31, 2015, over 700,000 young people have received DACA, broadening their educational opportunities,” showing that amount of immigrants lives can get impacted if the government takes DACA away. This country uproars with stereotypes against Hispanics that are either documented or not, but some citizen don’t really take in Hispanics opinions due to stereotypes about them not getting information or they are known as illegal and they don’t know what they are saying.

In addition, many citizens think that undocumented immigrants are criminals and many other stereotypes like all immigrants are lazy or they can’t afford a ‘proper home’. According to Pew Research Center, “About eight-in-ten (79%) say immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care, while only 14% believe immigrants strengthen the U.S. because of their hard work and talents,” (The Political Typology). Immigrants have a lot of rights thanks to DACA and DAPA, but they are supposedly not using it effectively. Citizens are not willing to expand the programs because citizens think that these programs aren’t used effectively by immigrants. Some citizens opinions is that immigrants are not as hardworking as expected and this connects to the main point because with what the citizens think and when they see immigrants not doing anything, that leads them making assumptions about immigrants. U.S. citizens contribute to the programs helping immigrants. Some immigrants use these rights and financial aid wisely, but some do not. Through DACA and DAPA, immigrants have rights like a permit to work that needs to be renewed every two years, and have protection from deportation. With these programs some citizens think immigrants have more rights than citizens themselves do. CNN reported that, “Texas, the only state whose standing was explicitly recognized by the court, specifically argued that the immigrants’ “lawful presence” would require the state to provide them with “state-subsidized driver’s licenses” and unemployment insurance.” This shows that in a political view, some people think the immigrants abuse what they are given such as driver’s licenses.

         DACA and DAPA also do too little for immigrants because health insurance is not included in the programs of the DACA and DAPA, in which health insurance is a very important benefit. In National Immigration Law Center it shows, “As noted above, DACA and DAPA grantees are not eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, except for emergency Medicaid services,” (MILC). Not having health insurance is very problematic to immigrants and citizens should be able to get help and understand what’s wrong with them, immigrants should be able to go to the doctor to check what’s wrong with them and prevent major illness. Everyone should be able to get the care they need regardless of who they are. While undocumented immigrants can get help in emergency situations, they should be able to have physicals or be treated for non-life-threatening illnesses like the flu.

Alternatively, some U.S. citizens think DACA and DAPA do too much for undocumented immigrants. These citizens are scared to provide this aid to immigrants because they believe it could potentially taking away aid from programs for citizens. Mark Krikorian,  Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies, said, “It’s an illegal program. The president, simply, has no authority to grant benefits to millions of people.” Citizens think that  it’s unfair because they’ve been in the country longer or they were born in the country and because of the hard word they’ve done, their tax money goes to undocumented workers instead of programs for them.

Overall, DACA and DAPA are programs that aim to give undocumented students and parents a better future. DACA and DAPA do too little for immigrants because the health insurance situation, many U.S. citizens stereotype immigrants as criminals, stereotype immigrants as criminals,”, and that immigrants’ rights are not secure under these laws. that immigrants’ rights are not secure under these laws.But some other people that disagree with DACA and DAPA because they do too much to protect the undocumented ones.  Many lives are in danger with this one decision.

SO WHAT? WHY DO WE CARE?

DACA and DAPA support immigrants and give them a head start, but in today’s news, DACA is at risk of being terminated. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, DACA and DAPA can disappear any day now because of the decisions of our government. Immigrants in this country depend on DACA and DAPA and feel miserable because the people who depend on this law feel powerless. If they take away DACA, then there might not be as many immigrants in the United States as there were before. This information worries a lot of families, including my friends’ families because they started a life in the United States and all of sudden it will be taken away like a mother snatching a lollipop from a kid who’s not allowed to have sugar. The potential removal of DACA is devastating because a lot of families are in danger of being separated.     I have friends who are immigrants, people I work with who are immigrants, and parents who are immigrants. We all grew up in Chelsea, a place that we struggle in and a town that we call home.

 I grew up in a small urban city called Chelsea in Massachusetts. Chelsea is a city of immigrants trying to make a great life with what they have.  It is the city “with the highest percentage of immigrants in the state. [Where] many residents hail from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.” (Boston Globe, 2016). DACA and DAPA help these immigrants to have a better homes than they did before they came to the United States and give them job opportunities. They have better electricity, cleaner water, and have better access to healthcare, even though they can’t get health insurance.  Immigrants want to create better homes for their kids and try to give them everything they want. Children of immigrants want to have access to education after high school, they want to go to college and pursue their dreams of being someone important in this world like a surgeon or a lawyer. They just want a better life. People that come from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, etc. have struggles in their daily life back then and they want to benefit financially in the future in the U.S.

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Senator DiDomenico Attends NCSL Summit in Boston

Senator DiDomenico Attends NCSL Summit in Boston

Senator Sal DiDomenico recently joined State Senators and Representatives from throughout the United States during the 2017 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit held in Boston.  Each year elected officials meet to share information and best practices at this conference held in different part of the country.  This year’s summit was the largest in several years with over 6,000 legislators convening in our Capitol.  Senator DiDomenico is a member of several NCSL committees, including Student Centered Learning, and he participated in several sessions on topics such as redistricting, education, intergovernmental affairs, media relations, and manufacturing.  This summit was also attended by associations, foundations, and governmental agencies and DiDomenico met with many of these organizations including the Nellie Mae Foundation to speak about their work funding educational initiatives throughout New England.  “It was great to join colleagues from throughout the country, and gather information that we can use in our own districts and throughout the Commonwealth,” said DiDomenico.  “Having this summit in Boston also allowed us to showcase our collaborative approach to governing that has moved our state forward.”

Since 1975, NCSL has been the champion of state legislatures. They have helped states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems.  They fought against unwarranted actions in Congress and saved states more than $1 billion.  They strive to improve the quality and effectiveness of the state legislatures, promote policy innovation and communication, and ensure states have a strong cohesive voice.

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