Posted on July 3, 2006

Town Targets Businesses Hiring Illegal Immigrants, July 1, 2006

Forget the New England charm, forget the busy summer tourist season that fuels the local economy — a Cape Cod town council has declared its community is “not a sanctuary for illegal aliens” and has unanimously passed a bylaw to fine businesses $1,000 that employ undocumented workers and to revoke their licenses if they do it repeatedly.

The Sandwich, Mass., Board of Selectmen voted 5-to-0 Thursday evening to attempt to control the influx of illegal immigrants by penalizing the employers who hire them.

“It is very clear that our country is now in the midst of one of the greatest threats to its existence in our history,” Selectman Douglas Dexter, who proposed the order, said. “There are millions of criminal aliens invading our cities and towns and destroying the social services and legal systems of our communities.”

Sandwich is a seaside community of 23,000 residents located in the northwest corner of Cape Cod. Incorporated in 1639, it’s is the oldest town on Cape Cod and one of the oldest towns in the U.S., settled by European immigrants nearly 150 years before the American Revolution.

The proposed bylaw will not take effect until a vote by town meeting, which is expected to be held this fall.

Of the 14,000 registered voters in Sandwich, 3,531 are Democrats and 3,138 are Republicans. All five elected selectmen are registered Republicans.

Dexter said his proposal wasn’t motivated by specific concerns in Sandwich, but, rather, frustration with the federal government’s failure to deal with illegal immigration and enforce existing laws.

“We have politicians who have turned to mush,” he said.


Dr. Jacqueline Fields, the Sandwich representative to the Barnstable County’s Human Rights Commission, said she had not known of the proposed bylaw, but criticized “the unfortunate use of language” by Dexter and other board members. “We need to use language that is less inflammatory and less derogatory,” she said.

Dexter is undaunted and unapologetic.

“What part of illegal don’t they understand? When they come over the border they are illegal,” he said “I don’t intend to go hunting for illegal aliens, but we need to take a stand. Most good laws act as a deterrent, rather than a punishment.”