Markey Opposes Safe Injection Sites, Licenses for Illegal Aliens
FAIRHAVEN — State Rep. Chris Markey (D – 9th Bristol) is not in favor of a pair of controversial bills proposed on Beacon Hill calling for safe injection sites and Massachusetts driver's licenses for those living illegally in the United States.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling has publicly threatened to prosecute any politician or organizations who attempt to implement safe injection sites. Lelling doubled down on his promise on Friday after a federal judge ruled earlier this week that safe injection sites do not violate federal law.
Though 20 other state lawmakers have signed on as cosponsors of the bill, there are no legislators from Bristol County have been listed as a petitioner for the measure.
“I’m not in favor of it. The government should not be involved in promoting something that’s illegal. There are other things we can do other than that. You’re exposing neighborhoods to this,” Markey said Friday during an appearance on the Chris McCarthy Show.
“We can’t promote it and give people incentives to go and do it. We need to help them. I think we have done a pretty good job in the last five or six years in relation to the opioid crisis, trying to put funding towards it and putting counseling towards it. We even have the creation of these drug courts, everywhere. They’re in Plymouth, they’re in New Bedford, Fall River. Falmouth has one. Those are the adjustments that we need to make.”
State Reps. Dylan Fernandes (D- Falmouth) and Tami Gouveia (D-14th Middlesex) filed the legislation, which would “authorize a pilot program for harm reduction sites, in which a person with a substance use disorder may consume pre-obtained controlled substances and medical assistance by health care professionals,” according to a copy of the bill available on the state’s official website. Fellow Cape legislator to Fernandes, State Senator Julian Cyr (D - Cape and Islands), is also a cosponsor.
“One of the biggest problems is the fentanyl. It’s not the heroin,” Markey said, explaining that the high amount of overdoses seen today is due to the introduction of fentanyl to the black market, compared to the 1980s where addicts were using solely heroin.
“We need to find ways to take fentanyl off the streets and the federal government is going to have to find ways to get involved in that. Fentanyl is coming from China. It’s getting mailed to people’s homes and addresses. Law enforcement has very little ability to control that unless the federal government gets involved.”
Markey is also not in favor of a bill that would provide those living in the United States illegally with a Massachusetts driver’s license.
That bill would permit all qualified residents, regardless of immigration status, to receive a standard license under the state's now-two-tiered system. It seeks to change the circumstances surrounding citizen’s rights to obtain a license from the state. The current law, as written, states that a person “who does not have lawful presence in the United States,” is not permitted to a license.
The proposal would change the law to state that those persons “may apply for a Massachusetts license if they meet all other qualifications for licensure and provide satisfactory proof to the registrar of identity, date of birth and Massachusetts residency.”
“I have concern for it. I am not in favor of how it’s written at this particular point,” Markey said.
“I think if you look at all the court cases throughout the Commonwealth throughout in the Supreme Judicial Court, licenses are a privilege and they’ve been determined to be a privilege. They’re not a Constitutional right. I think that people who come here through the proper mechanisms should be entitled to those privileges. This is one of those privileges that I don’t think people who are here without the proper documentation should benefit from.“