No one could possibly be more outrageously offensive to women than Missouri Republican Senate Candidate Todd Akin with his despicable comment about how women's bodies have a way of "shutting down" pregancy resulting from "legitimate rape". Unless, that is, one is talking about women who are also unauthorized immigrants.
In that case, Akin has to take a back seat to a 28 year-old Massachusetts Republican State Senator by the name of Ryan Fattman. In July of last year, the governor of that state, Deval Patrick, pulled Massachusetts out of President Obama's Secure Communities program. (One has to wonder whether a certain former governor of that state would have done the same, but that is not the topic of this comment.)
Governor Patrick gave one of his main reasons for pulling out of Secure Communities as his concern that the program would discourage unauthorized immigrants from reporting violent crimes for fear of being deported.
However, Fattman had no such concerns. According to Mother Jones (July 9, 2011), Fattman said the following to the Worcester Telegram and Gazette when asked whether a woman without legal immigration status who was raped and beaten when she walked down the street might be afraid to report the crime to the police:
"My thought is that if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward. If you do it the right way [i.e. have legal status] you don't have to be concerned about these things."
When asked by Mother Jones to explain his comment, Fattman added:
"I think if someone is here illegally, they should be afraid to come forward because they should be afraid to be deported." He also said: "But if you weren't here, the crime wouldn't happen."
In fairness, Mother Jones also reported that Fattman tried to back track from his comments, later saying that the women in question should come forward. But when asked whether they should be arrested if they did, Fattman said that should be up to the discretion of the individual police officer.
Again to be fair, Fattman also told Mother Jones that he wants to make it easier, less expensive and faster for immigrants to come to the US, and he also introduced legislation to crack down on businesses that exploit unauthorized workers. Of course, Todd Akin tried to back down on his women-hating comments too. But once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is hard to put it back in.
However, Fattman, sickeningly offensive as his comments were, is not one of the people who is actually carrying out Secure Communities, however much he may be cheering from the sidelines. Nor, fortunatley, does he have the power to put his state back into that program.
If we want to find out whether unauthorized immigrant women should be afraid to report rape to the police, or if any have been deported for doing so, we should look to the place where the Secure Communities buck stops. That place is not in State Representative Ryan Fattman's office.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years