By Bob Katzen
The Senate 25-13, approved an amendment that would prohibit police and other law enforcement from asking people about their immigration status. Other provisions end the practice that deputizes state and local law enforcement as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents; bans state resources from being used to create a registry based on ethnicity, religion, country of origin and other criteria; and requires that immigrants be notified of their due-process rights.
Sen. Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton), the amendment’s sponsor, said that immigrant communities and families are feeling very fearful. “There’s a role for state government, to make sure that no state resources, no state functions, no state power is engaged in Donald Trump’s mass deportation agenda — an agenda that has created divisiveness among religious lines, ethnic lines and racial lines.”
“The Senate took a strong stand for Massachusetts values,” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA). “Sen. Eldridge’s amendment will make our communities safer by ensuring that all residents know they can speak to police without fear. At a time when our federal government is tearing families apart, tonight’s votes send a powerful message that in our commonwealth, we value and welcome immigrants.”
Gov. Baker opposes the proposal. “I don’t support it and I would veto it if it ends up coming to my desk,” Baker said. “I’ve said many times that I think decisions like this belong with local law enforcement.”
“Gov. Baker opposes a sanctuary state and this amendment does not address the issue of creating clear guidelines for state and local law enforcement to work with federal immigration officials to detain violent and dangerous criminals convicted of heinous crimes like rape and murder,” said Baker’s Communications Director Elizabeth Guyton.