Sunnunu and LePage Were “Racists” for Blaming Heroin Epidemic on Illegal Alien Drug Dealers – Except they Were Right!

Mainstream media outlets consistently argue that sanctuary policies don’t encourage crime. It is also received wisdom in newsrooms throughout the U.S. that illegal aliens commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans. Whether or not that is true, every crime committed by an illegal alien is a preventable crime, if our immigration laws are enforced. And recent arrests in Lawrence, Mass., indicate that illegal aliens in New England are involved in serious criminal activities with widespread repercussions to communities throughout the area.

Lawrence is a sanctuary city in northern Massachusetts with a large population of illegal aliens. According to, it’s also the city with the highest foreign-born population in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the city with one of the highest populations of people who immigrated legally.

In recent years, both New Hampshire and Maine have been afflicted with an epidemic of drug overdoses resulting from the use of potent combination of fentanyl and heroin – both opioid drugs. In 2016, New Hampshire experienced just under 500 opioid overdose deaths, Maine hit 376. Both states have a population of about 1.3 million year-round residents and very low numbers of aliens living within their borders.

Accordingly, when governors Christopher Sunnunu (N.H.) and Paul LePage (Me.) blamed their overdose problems on “illegal alien Dominican drug dealers from Lawrence,” which sits just south of the New Hampshire border, both were roundly criticized as racists. However, it turns out that Governors Sunnunu and LePage were correct.

Law enforcement officials in Massachusetts recently broke up the biggest fentanyl/heroin distribution ring in northern New England. Its leader: a previously deported illegal alien from the Dominican Republic. It’s area of operation: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Approximately 30 people were arrested. Nearly a dozen are believed to be in the country illegally, many of the remainder are aliens whose immigration status has yet to be determined. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that many of the individuals arrested, “even bragged about having been deported several times.”

Fentanyl is a prescription analgesic used to treat the type of severe pain experienced by cancer patients and burn victims. However, it’s not the kind of stuff you can synthesize in a basement lab. It’s made by pharmaceutical companies, which means that if you want to sell it, you have to either smuggle it into the United States, steal it or illegally purchase it from pharmacies, doctors, or prescription holders.

How many illegal aliens were ultimately involved in this web of crime? We may never know. But it is a pretty safe bet that, had the Lawrence Police been actively cooperating with ICE, many of the member of this gang would have been gone long before their criminal activities forever changed lives in three states.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Lest We Forget the Obamacare Failure Due to the Russian Fake News Obstruction

    IMO [as a Special Needs Medical representative] when the 70% “well bodied Americans” uninsured took Medicaid from our severely disabled and elderly it got sucked dry. Even the University of Washington stopped taking Medicaid for dental about that time. Its fake insurance now.

    Its spent on Opioids [doctor prescribed] and likely a horrifying narcotic addiction NATION-WIDE….and when those sources dry up they go to the Mexican Drug Cartel for their opium. Much of Obamacare Medicaid goes for anchor baby births too.

  2. avatar

    “Sanctuary” should never have been interpreted to mean
    that unauthorized foreign nationals will not be prosecuted for ordinary crimes.

    Instead of ‘SANCTUARY’ Cities,
    SEPARATION Cities.

    The expression “sanctuary cities”
    might be taken to mean
    that foreign nationals
    will not be arrested for ordinary crimes.
    Not so.
    All crimes will be investigated
    and laws will be enforced.

    The mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota
    suggests a new expression:
    What most of these cities really mean
    is that there will be OFFICIAL SEPARATION
    between the POLICE functions
    and the PRISON functions.

    If and when any individual
    (regardless of citizenship)
    is arrested for probable cause,
    then FULL IDENTIFICATION of this individual
    should be obtained
    —explicitly including country of citizenship.

    Carefully SEPARATING the POLICE behavior
    from the PRISON behavior will clarify
    exactly WHEN the question of citizenship might arise.

    Here is that bright line of SEPARATION:
    This event is well-known to everyone in law-enforcement.
    It does NOT include traffic stops,
    searching for weapons or drugs,
    or questioning witnesses or suspects.
    Even “being detained” is not the same as

    Booking does not take place on the street,
    in anyone’s home or place of business.
    Being booked takes place
    at the intake office of the local jail or prison.
    The people in charge of booking
    work for the JAIL or PRISON,
    not for the city police or the state patrol.

    Booking includes taking a picture of the person arrested
    and creating a set of fingerprints,
    which are automatically compared
    with other fingerprints kept by the FBI.
    If this person is wanted for any other crimes,
    then that fact will be taken into account
    for all future cooperation
    with other agencies of law-enforcement.

    In short, the POLICE can do their work
    without ever asking for immigration status.
    (This protects all who cooperate with the police.)

    But if and when some criminal suspect
    then the full identity of that suspect
    should be documented by the PRISON authorities.

    On the STREET, no one is asked about citizenship.
    But in JAIL, all suspects are completely identified.

    The federal government should have no problems
    with such SEPARATION CITIES.
    Both sides of the debate get what they want:
    The city police do not arrest anyone for immigration violations.
    Once a suspect is in custody for criminal behavior,
    the PRISON authorities fully identify that individual
    and cooperate with all other levels of law-enforcement.

    One additional administrative way to achieve this SEPARATION
    already exists in many locations:
    The CITY sets policy for the local POLICE.
    And the COUNTY sets policy for the local JAIL.
    Property taxes support both levels of government,
    but there are different governing bodies
    —perhaps a city council
    and a county board of commissioners.

    And even when the same governing body sets both policies,
    they can clearly SEPARATE the POLICE PRACTICES
    from the PRISON PRACTICES.

    When all local and state jails and prisons cooperate
    with all levels of national law-enforcement,
    there should be no threat of withholding federal funds
    from any such SEPARATION CITIES.

    James Leonard Park is the author of
    Orderly Immigration: Creating a New America:—freelibrary-3puxk/OI.html

  3. avatar

    You have to differentiate illegals aliens, once a drug dealer or a drug user, always a user it dealer……but wait…….who buys that……?