ICE-Raid-Leaking State Rep Doubles Down, Links Critics To Ku Klux Klan

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/03/30/ice-raid-leaking-state-rep-doubles-down-links-critics-to-ku-klux-klan/

By Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

Massachusetts state Representative Michelle DuBois has “no regrets” about posting rumors on Facebook of an alleged upcoming visit to her city by immigration agents and said she would do it again, although a lawman from a neighboring county said she undermined law enforcement and should step down.

The Brockton Democrat’s post created national news and sparked a torrent of opprobrium on her Facebook page after Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson mentioned it at a congressional subcommittee meeting on Tuesday.

“I only regret the level of hatred and anger and ugliness from the alt-right across the nation that has clouded my Facebook page with death threats and threats of rape and murder of family members, so I regret that. But I don’t regret standing up for my district and using my freedom of speech,” DuBois told the News Service on Wednesday. She said, “I have no regrets” and responded affirmatively when asked if she would post it again.

Hodgson said DuBois’s post “undermines her community” and law enforcement, and if an operation had been in the works it could have alerted criminals in the country illegally that federal agents were about to pounce.

“We like to move on the element of surprise because obviously if you give notice to some of these vicious gang members — like MS13, people like that — they’re pretty brazen,” the Dartmouth Republican told the News Service. “And they’ll build up a stockpile of weapons and when our officers are coming up thinking they’re getting an element of surprise, they’re getting something very different.”

Hodgson said stepping down from office would be the “responsible” thing for DuBois to do.

Emotions and partisanship fired up by the 2016 presidential election have hardly abated after President Donald Trump’s victory and immigration remains one of many flashpoints.

Around noon on Wednesday, more than 24 hours after her controversial post, DuBois posted a link on Facebook to a fund-raising page, writing that contributing would help her “fight back.”

In her Tuesday morning post, DuBois shared information received from “my friend in the Latin community,” advising people that Immigration and Custom Enforcement would be in Brockton on Wednesday and recommending that unauthorized immigrants stay off the street.

 
Rep. Michelle DuBois published this post on Tuesday. [Facebook]

DuBois blamed the alt-right — a term that refers to a brand of nationalists who support Trump — for the backlash against her Facebook post, and said her constituents fear the elected law enforcement in the area.

“People in my district are incredibly fearful of the Bristol County sheriff, the Plymouth County sheriff, and these alt-right angry hating people who seek to divide us instead of bringing us together. So my experience has been one of being a good state representative to the people I represent and caring about them like I do on every single topic,” DuBois said. “And it just so happens that the Ku Klux Klan angry alt-right wing of the Republican party from across the nation has seized on this, and they’re the ones that are blowing this up.”

Hodgson said the post indicates that DuBois values law-breakers over legal residents and citizens who he said could be harmed by those targeted by immigration enforcement agents.

“It’s unconscionable. She’s an elected official, and she ought to be ashamed of herself. She really ought to think about whether or not she really understands her role as a state representative,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson has proposed using Bristol County inmates as volunteers to help the president construct his promised wall along the border with Mexico, and House Democrats met behind closed doors on Beacon Hill earlier this year discussing legislative action they might take to block that proposal.

DuBois said she believes that Hodgson will be exposed as a “hatemonger” in the future.

“I think he’s playing this for his own gain, and he’s hoping that he’s going to be able to turn the heart of Massachusetts residents to the same hateful thought-processes that he holds. And I think that he’s trying to use me as a whipping post to do that, and I just hope people can see through his game,” DuBois said. “And I think in the long bend of history, they will. They will see him for a hatemonger that he is, but it may take a couple decades.”

“That’s what people like her do,” Hodgson responded. He said people like DuBois “can’t take responsibility” or “justify their behavior.” He said, “Anybody that knows me knows I’m no hatemonger.”

While DuBois said she was exercising her freedom of speech, Hodgson suggested she may have violated a federal law against knowingly harboring or concealing someone in the country illegally.

DuBois said she has not heard from federal law enforcement about the post and declined to discuss on the record any steps she might be taking to respond to what she said were threatening messages on her Facebook page.

Hodgson spoke to the News Service from the green room at Fox News in Washington D.C. and said he would be meeting with sheriffs, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a Homeland Security official on Thursday.

DuBois agreed to speak to the News Service on her way out of the House chamber after joining a unanimous vote to advance a $200 million local road funding bill on Wednesday. DuBois, who said she is “getting support from everywhere,” declined to describe how her colleagues received her in the House after the controversy.

DuBois was one of the first representatives to arrive in the House chamber for Wednesday afternoon’s formal session, and soon after taking her seat in the first division she was greeted by her colleagues.

About 18 representatives, including at least one Republican, approached DuBois to talk, with many either shaking her hand, hugging her or sharing a laugh. One rep commented that DuBois is famous and jokingly asked for her autograph.

[Colin A. Young contributed reporting]

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