Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sam Meas for Congress

I just had a neat opportunity to get to know Sam Meas over breakfast and coffee at the Owl Diner. Mr. Meas is a Haverhill-based Republican who is running for a seat here in the 5th Congressional District election in 2010.

We spoke about a wide range of policy topics, to include: his detailed plan for a forgiveness period for undocumented immigrants, which would be followed by heightened border security/restrictions as well as tougher laws against employers of undocumented immigrants and crackdowns against visa overstays; his plan to create stronger incentives for prospective nurses and doctors to work for VA hospitals (it's basically a modified, civilianized ROTC-type program); party identity and the dangers created by a lack of viable opposition; and the need for greater political participation from within the Khmer community.

As an unenrolled voter, I want to emphasize that at no point did Mr. Meas blame either party for any of the nation or the state's ills; however, he is very passionate about the problem created by a one-party system in which party leaders and insiders decide who will run for offices, and then the voters lack real power to determine the outcome.

Mr. Meas, the first Cambodian-American Congressional candidate in U.S. history, also spoke about his twin goals of "education and engagement" for segments of the population that are currently not represented in local government.

This link will take you to his website, which will soon be revamped to include more detailed policy information.


Shannon said...

Hi Greg,
Wow, after reading his page it sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders, wish we had such a candidate in AZ, did he happen to give the main points of his forgiveness period plan? That sounds interesting.

The New Englander said...

Shannon, thanks for the support! I am going to be working quite a bit with Sam over the next year in support of his candidacy so I'm definitely not neutral on this subject...the basic idea of his plan is that we must FIRST find a way to address the fact that there are many undocumented immigrants living in this country, some for many years running and all in the shadows.

We have to solve this in a practical and humanitarian way. Trying to round everyone up and turn neighbor against neighbor in some type of Orwellian nightmare is NOT it...instead, there needs to be a way to recognize these people, bring them forward, and put them on a path to legal residency. This would come over a lengthy period and would require certain things on the part of the applicant, to include a large processing fee.

Once this has been accomplished, the government needs to address the problems that create this situation in the first place. The first is much tighter enforcement of visa overstays. Others include better border security and SERIOUS fines against employers who hire undocumented workers.

I think his plan can appeal to those who fall to the left of the aisle or the right. To a moderate like me, it makes a lot of sense --I definitely believe that undocumented immigrants make tons of contributions to our society, and the right thing to do in regards to those already here is to bring them out of the shadows and put them on the path towards legal residency.

Shannon said...

Nice, I like that he is proactive about the people that are already here. I don't want anyone to be treated like they are an infestation and just picked up and shipped off.
The people here do need to be documented so that they can move forward with their lives and so can everyone else.

Responsibilities on the applicant are a good idea. I would want them to do all of the studies that were required of legal immigrants. What happens if the applicant can not pay the processing fee? I have a feeling that would be a large issue. Do the undocumented immigrants have a certain amount of time to come forward and complete their citizenship? After that time, what action is taken?

One of Tucson's Chief border patrol agents was recently interviewed on a radio talk show. Since it is one of your big subjects, I thought you might want to hear it? Here is the link if you get a chance.


The New Englander said...


Thanks for sending the link..I know the way this issue is experienced in Arizona is quite different from, say, Massachusetts.

You're right that the $$$ for the processing would be a major burden on most undocumented workers or on folks who overstay their visas. And that enforcing the time limitations/rules would be tough..

Either way the main thing I support is the general idea that we need to a) find a way to bring people out of the shadows, and b) once we've done that, we need to address the systemic factors that create the situation we're now dealing with. That just seems like the most humane way forward..