Coakley on immigration: We didn't pay attention to immigrant status

Morgen at Verum Serum hopped into his Wayback machine to November of last year and did some research on Martha Coakleys’ position on immigration reform. To no one’s great surprise, Coakley backs comprehensive immigration reform, which almost certainly reflects the sense of her state as well. But Morgen catches the Attorney General admitting that her office didn’t put much stock in anyone’s immigration status in this interview with WGBH’s Mindy Todd:

I firmly believe that we need a pathway to citizenship, and I know as District Attorney, we, you know, always paid attention to the person, not their status.

Morgen likes the “looks the other way” quote that precedes this, but that specifically has to do with looking the other way at the failed policy, not explicitly looking the other way at illegal immigration.  However, this quote makes that approach very clear.  Most people would agree that our current system has failed, and that we’ve ignored it too long, so that’s not exactly a news flash.  However, many would believe that part of the problem comes from law enforcement paying little attention to immigration status as they book and prosecute people for crimes, and that paying a little more attention when District Attorneys come into contact with illegal immigrants would make it easier to deport them, especially since DAs are supposed to be enforcing the law already.

But the question is whether voters in Massachusetts believe this.  Ted Kennedy spent his last few years pushing for amnesty and very liberal immigration reform, so one has to presume that Coakley isn’t exactly out of the mainstream in Massachusetts on these points.  On the other hand, tough economic times may have changed that somewhat — and in a special election, this could fire up people who believe that secure borders and a vigorous enforcement of the law should be higher priorities than incentivizing a flood of cheap labor to cross the border.

I don’t think this will be a game-changer on a level anywhere near ObamaCare or Coakley’s attempts to hide herself in DC this past week — but it’s still good to know.  Morgen has the entire audio of the Coakley-Todd interview.