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Boughton decides not to attend immigration forum…

Cross post from HatCityBLOG

…while throwing his trademark temper tantrum we’ve all come to love, and taking a swipe at those who were offended by his presence on the panel.

After a group of Latino law school students vehemently objected to Danbury Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton’s being invited to participate on a university panel discussion about immigration, Boughton said he will abide by their wishes.

“I haven’t changed my opinion one bit,” Boughton said Tuesday, but “I really wasn’t interested in getting engaged in some kind of controversy where people are interested in suppressing my First Amendment right to freedom of speech.”

[…]

“I would believe (these statements) are libelous, and I would expect better of law students,” he said. “Their letter is so over the top there is no room for intelligent discourse. I strictly believe in the opinion that the laws of the United States of America ought to be enforced and no one is going to take that away from me.”

Can someone hand Mayor Mark a tissue please…

Seriously, when it comes to why Boughton has NO business at this forum, I’ll quote from Peter Gosilin.

Mayor Boughton is well known for his opinions about undocumented immigrants and law enforcement. But there is no evidence that Boughton is qualified to say anything about undocumented immigrants in the workplace from the point of view of sociological inquiry, legal analysis, or policy prescription. Boughton does not provide “balance” to discussion of rights and redress for the undocumented worker. What he provides is a distraction and a false sense that unless nativists and racists are invited to participate in every discussion that touches on immigration, somehow the discussion is one-sided. Moreover, I have to point out that since Boughton is also a Republican Party candidate for Governor of Connecticut, the Public Interest Law Journal has violated any accepted norm of “balance” by inviting him without inviting his opponents.

[…]

On the other hand, perhaps both Boughton and Attorney Vincent could contribute to a discussion of 287g programs: ICE-initiated programs in collaboration with local officials to effectively “deputize” local law enforcement to act as immigration agents in their communities. In such a discussion, perhaps some qualified speakers could ask them about the role that 287g agreements play in polarizing communities, in making victims of crime fear reporting to the police, and in giving local police further excuses to stop, harass, arrest and detain people for the crime of “breathing while brown.” And while we are at it, a “balanced” panel could include officials from the cities of New Haven and Hartford, who have repudiated 287g in favor of local policies that forbid police officers from acting as immigration enforcers. And it could include people from the community: community leaders and individuals who have experienced the impact that these competing policies have effected on immigrants in Connecticut.

This isn’t about free speech but rather students speaking out about the presence of a person who has historically used the topic of illegal immigration to further his political agenda and someone who offers ZERO input to the topic of the symposium entitled “Undocumented Immigrants in the Workplace.”

As we move forward in this gubernatorial campaign, and as more people learn about Boughton’s anti-immigrant policy, expect the level of outraged directed at Danbury’s last honest man to continue.