Boughton A Liability For Connecticut GOP
A Taste Of Arizona In Western CT
“The arrival of new Latino immigrants, and the failure of the federal government to address immigration’s local effects, has sparked a backlash from Mayor Boughton’s administration, which has targeted, harassed, and intimidated these new city residents through a number of discriminatory policies,” read the lawsuit. “These policies aim ultimately to drive unwanted immigrants from Danbury and to deter future immigrants from making Danbury their home.”
Danbury's Immigrant Basher In Chief.
Blast From The Past: 2005 Cool Justice column
Lost Opportunity In Danbury
By ANDY THIBAULT,Columnist
Law Tribune Newspapers
June 6, 2005
How about all those immigrants in Danbury? Is that a problem or what?
The mayor says illegal immigrants - and immigrants who play long volleyball tournaments to cheering crowds - constitute major problems. He made international news with a call to have state police enforce immigration laws in Danbury. Grant the premise that Mayor Mark Boughton has good intentions. City services are overwhelmed. Residents are complaining about the noise and the crowds and the different cultures.
Still, no matter what his intentions, Boughton's proclamations have fueled hatred and discrimination. A group called Concerned Citizens for Immigration Control had its first meeting in Danbury, calling for "illegals" to get out of town and demanding "our language back … our country back." Maybe they should be forced to speak Navajo.
"There's no question," Boughton told me, "the message received was not the message intended. "We're a caring city that's tolerant of people from all over the world."
In this country, founded and built by illegal immigrants, it baffles me when politicians play the immigration card. This can be a sign of incompetence, hypocrisy and cowardice. Boughton has such a nice demeanor -- and some demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups -- I can't bring myself to think of him that way. Still, Mayor Boughton cannot yet be accused of celebrating diversity. Boughton cannot yet be accused of welcoming and nurturing the talents of all human beings who live and work in this city.
"We assume he was trying to get rid of some people here," said Wilson Hernandez, a Danbury restaurateur and coordinator of the Danbury Area Coalition for the Rights of Immigrants. "Just because people have a dark skin or look different, that does not mean they are illegal."
Unwittingly or not, Boughton is perceived as Danbury's Immigrant Basher In Chief. As such, he must be held accountable for any and all incidents of police brutality and other harassment inflicted on immigrants in Danbury. One such incident allegedly occurred on May 24. Danbury police seem to have translated Boughton's rants into a perverted version of the welcome wagon.
Gloria Palma Ramos, driving through town, noticed her sister-in-law in traffic near Main Street in Danbury on May 24. They were stopped at a traffic light and they chatted about a family birthday party. Her sister-in-law, Beatriz Ramos, does not speak English.
Apparently they lingered at the light and an officer pulled Beatriz Ramos over. Gloria Palma Ramos told the officer Beatriz did not speak English. The officer told her to stay back. Gloria Palma Ramos says she did stay back, even as her sister-in-law nervously looked for papers not knowing why the officer was shouting at her. Gloria Palma Ramos tried again to talk to the officer. For this, she was restrained.
"He … took my right arm and twisted it behind me … I cried to the police officer to please not do this to me because I was three months pregnant," Gloria Palma Ramos said in a sworn statement to her attorney, Philip Berns of Stamford. She added, "He looked at me and said, "This is America, welcome to the United States."
Boughton, who was familiar with the incident, said, "She refused directions to go back into her car. He took her arm and put it behind her back. There is no scintilla of evidence that anyone was roughed up."
Sure, cops don't like getting advice on the street. But, a little common sense and courtesy would have gone a long way in this situation. Instead of getting rid of the immigrants, Danbury could show them off with an expanded international festival. Given a second chance, Boughton might not squander a chance to educate his constituents.