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Question 4 ‘poster boy’ triggers referendum debate

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An illegal immigrant once caught at the southern border faces deportation after he was involved in an accident that killed an elderly pedestrian in Medford in a case that has some saying it’s a Question 4 prime example.

Everton Candido, 19, a native of Brazil, was arrested Sunday, arraigned and bailed Monday and picked up by immigration agents Tuesday in Somerville.

He’s charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after State Police say he struck 77-year-old Walter Wishoski in Medford just before 7 p.m. Sunday near a Wendy’s. The elderly man was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

“This guy is a poster boy to vote no on Question 4,” a law enforcement source told the Herald.

Question 4 on the Nov. 8 ballot asks voters if they want to overturn the new immigrant license law. That law, passed by the state Legislature over Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto, allows illegal immigrants to use identification issued by their home country to gain a Bay State driver’s license.

Baker has said the troubled Registry of Motor Vehicles is not equipped to handle the workload.

Advocates argue the law — called “Work and Family Mobility” — will make the roads safer by allowing those who must drive to do so legally and with insurance coverage. That includes some police groups.

The Boston branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement isn’t addressing Question 4, but they are moving to kick Candido out of the country.

“Regardless of nationality, ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the individual merits and factors of each case,” a spokesman said.

He added: “ICE officers make associated decisions and apply prosecutorial discretion in a responsible manner, informed by their experience as law enforcement professionals and in a way that best protects against the greatest threats to the homeland.”

Candido crossed the southern border illegally near Tecate, Calif., in May 2021, the Herald was told. He was instructed to report to immigration authorities, which he never did.

He last moved to Somerville, a sanctuary city. That’s also where he was let go out of Somerville District Court.

ICE said Candido was granted bail after his arrest “without notification to ICE, therefore immigration authorities were unable to lodge an immigration detainer with the jail or take any immigration enforcement actions prior to his release.”

Wishoski’s sister, Denise Wishoski, said she is not wading into the Question 4 debate, but is mourning the loss of a big brother who was “a simple guy who loved to walk everywhere.

“Everybody loved him,” she added Friday of the Malden man. “He was a staff sergeant in the Army National Guard and then became a bartender. He was a big Red Sox fan and liked to watch old TV shows, like ‘Gunsmoke’ and “Bonanza.’ I can’t believe he got hit out there like a dog.”

Denise Wishoski said she doesn’t want to “fuel the fire” over immigrants being allowed to obtain a driver’s license, but she did say the talk should be about “becoming a citizen.” As for her brother, “he was a good guy” and that’s how she wants him remembered.

The Question 4 vote comes as migrant encounters at the southern border hit records, with 227,000 crossings last month and more than 2.3 million for fiscal year 2022, according to Customs and Border Protection.

A pair of migrant families pass through a gap in the border wall to reach the United States after crossing from Mexico to Yuma, Ariz. (File Photo/AP)
A pair of migrant families pass through a gap in the border wall to reach the United States after crossing from Mexico to Yuma, Ariz. (File Photo/AP)

 

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