Editor's note: We invited both Mr. Patrick and his Republican opponent to write Op Eds on this subject.
By Matt Patrick, Democratic candidate for State Senate
It’s time to sit back and take an emotional inventory of this situation and recognize what is stirring up all of this anxiety surrounding the Governor’s proposal. When all the facts are considered, I’m supportive of the Governor as long as it doesn’t cost the Commonwealth or Towns any money. It is an opportunity to show our compassion for children who have already had a very difficult time and are still in the midst of a traumatic experience likely to continue for some time.
The facts as I see them are that it is a temporary situation; the process takes on average 35 days. In the end they will either be deported, reunified with relatives or granted asylum according to the law. The base is leased by the Federal Government, so the fact that they are consulting with the Commonwealth and Towns shows their concern for local communities. The children are not on the base yet, but when and if they are, they will be screened for infectious diseases and schooled at the base, so the impact to our communities is minimal. We must ensure that there is adequate capacity for emergency services in the event of a natural disaster in the Towns with overflow at the base, which is standard operating procedure.
In the end, this is an opportunity to give these children a little peace during what is going to continue to be a traumatic experience.
Matt Patrick is the former five term State Representative from Falmouth who is now running for the Plymouth and Barnstable Senate seat being vacated by Senate President Terry Murray.