Mobile, Ala. (WALA) - Boston, Massachusetts, is quite a ways from Mobile, Alabama, more than 1,400 miles to be precise. But on Monday night, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made a point to mention this state in a speech given at Tufts University.
The governor was speaking about illegal immigration, more specifically, the laws in Alabama and Arizona.
And in his prepared remarks he said, "The actions of various states to take matters into their own hands have been ham-fisted, self-defeating and even racist."
State Representative Stephen McMillan is a staunch supporter of the immigration law, and feels those comments reflect ignorance.
McMillan said, "I think he's been reading too many fairy tales. And I would like for that gentleman to visit Alabama and find out for himself what Alabama is all about and the good people we have here."
Governor Patrick said in his speech that these illegal immigrant crackdowns are creating an environment of fear, and harsh penalties like separating families are the equivalent of demanding the death penalty for a speeding ticket.
He said, "The public discourse about immigration is as toxic today as McCarthyism and Jim Crow were in their time."
Arizona's immigration law is currently being challenged in the US Supreme Court and McMillan is confident that Alabama's law will stand strong.
McMillan said, "Much of it absolutely just tracks federal law, so it's going to be interesting to see how the courts handle that. You know, if they overturn our law, they, in essence, will be overturning federal law also."
Governor Patrick emphasized that illegal immigrants are humans who deserve health care and law enforcement protection. He said he will not dehumanize 11 million people to score political points.
We reached out to Governor Bentley's office for comment, but we haven't received a response yet.
If you'd like to see Governor Patrick's comments, take a look at a transcript of his speech.
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