Massachusetts Gaming Bill Addresses Immigration Concerns

The Massachusetts House of Representatives is poised to pass a bill establishing three resort casinos and a slot parlor, according to the State House News Service. Of the bill’s 154 proposed amendments, several address immigration-related matters.

Two identical amendments have been introduced to extend preferential treatment to casino developers who pledge to give a majority of jobs to Massachusetts residents. Another amendment, filed by Republican Minority Leader Bradley Jones of North Reading, requires all casino employers to use a federal database to check the citizenship status of job applicants. Only U.S. citizens or immigrants with a work permit would be eligible for employment.

A fourth amendment, introduced by state Rep. Kevin Kuros, a Republican representing Uxbridge, proposes that casino patrons who win more than $600 will have to verify their immigration status. He has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback on the amendment from his constituents, he told the news service.

The legislature will vote on this bill as a controversy continues to unfold related to the death of a Bay State man killed by an alleged drunk driver identified as an illegal immigrant. The man’s family has called on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to enforce the Secure Communities program, through which law enforcement officials share fingerprints of arrestees with federal immigration enforcement agencies.