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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Massachusetts lawmakers to hear immigration 'sanctuary' bill

    Updated: 5:11 AM EDT Jun 9, 2017

    BOSTON —
    Immigrants and advocacy groups plan to press their case to make Massachusetts a so-called sanctuary state.

    The Legislature's Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is scheduled to hear a bill on Friday that would place sharp limits on cooperation between federal immigration officials and state and local law enforcement agencies.

    The debate comes amid heightened concerns in some immigrant communities about President Donald Trump's policies. An executive order issued by Trump though later blocked by a federal judge would cut funding to sanctuary cities.

    Dozens of legislators have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, but passage is far from assured. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo have both indicated a preference to leave sanctuary status up to individual cities and towns.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    ICE needs to arrest every single of these advocates who are in the country in violation of US immigration law. Get them out of here. Quickly and Quietly.
    Beezer likes this.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    'Sanctuary state' bill brings hot debate to Beacon Hill

    By Christian M. Wade Statehouse Reporter 1 hr ago

    BOSTON — Immigrant advocates want Massachusetts to declare itself a “sanctuary state” that bars local police from detaining people living in the country illegally, saying that doing so sows distrust and sweeps up law-abiding people.

    On Friday, a legislative panel heard testimony on a proposal backed by more than 60 lawmakers — including Lawrence Reps. Juana Matias and Frank Moran, and Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover — that would stop police from holding undocumented immigrants unless an arrest warrant has been issued.

    “We should not divert state or local resources to do the work of the federal government,” Matias testified on Friday. “Our communities have been horribly disrupted by President Trump’s aggressive immigration policy. Families are being torn apart.”

    Supporters of the proposal packed the Statehouse hearing. Crowds spilled into a hallway, with many wearing stickers reading “I support safe communities.”

    Opponents also showed up in force, calling on lawmakers to reject the proposal and cooperate with the federal government.

    The proposal would restrict what information the state Registry of Motor Vehicles gives to federal authorities about people suspected of living in the country illegally.

    Immigrant advocates and some Democratic lawmakers say requiring local police to cooperate with federal immigration agents makes communities less safe because it dissuades people from reporting crime for fear of deportation.

    “This is a civil right issue,” said state Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, one of the main sponsors of the measure. “Deportations are happening right here in Massachusetts. People are scared.”

    Critics say the move would shield dangerous criminals from arrest.

    “It’s a public safety issue,” Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told the panel. “This is a politically motivated piece of legislation that will block partnerships with federal law enforcement agencies, and make it easier for criminal illegal immigrants to return to our neighborhoods.”

    Declaring sanctuary

    Six communities in Massachusetts — Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, Amherst, Northampton, Lawrence and most recently Salem — have declared themselves sanctuaries or passed similar ordinances. California, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and at least 340 communities have taken similar steps.

    Rules vary by community. In Lawrence, local authorities will not hold immigrants suspected of illegally living in the United States unless a criminal warrant has been issued.

    In Salem, police will not go out of their way to check people’s immigration status, although the city’s “Sanctuary for Peace” ordinance, first passed in March, doesn’t keep them from cooperating with federal authorities. But the ordinance doesn’t have full backing in the community — a recent petition effort successfully gathered signatures from 12 percent of registered voters to put the measure to a ballot vote in November.

    In Massachusetts, the controversial proposal divides policymakers — including lawmakers from the Merrimack Valley and North Shore — and not just along partisan lines. Many Democrats oppose it.

    Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Baker has said he doesn’t oppose cities and towns that declare themselves sanctuaries, but the state shouldn’t impose a blanket law.

    Baker issued a statement Friday reiterating his opposition, which he said would prevent the state from “upholding our policy to detain individuals for federal authorities that have been convicted of heinous crimes, like murder and rape, and weakens current public safety measures that are designed to keep us safer.”

    Last year, Baker reversed a Gov. Deval Patrick-era policy prohibiting state police from detaining people for federal immigration violations.

    Under the existing policy, state law enforcement only target suspected terrorists, drug traffickers and other violent criminals — not people wanted for minor offenses.

    Divisive issue

    President Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on sanctuary communities and recently signed an executive order threatening the funding of those that refuse to cooperate with immigration officials.

    That prompted lawsuits by Lawrence and Chelsea, which argue that it violates the constitutional separation of powers.

    Immigrant advocates say Massachusetts has a long history of sheltering new arrivals from around the world, and it should continue to do so.

    “Our state has always led the nation in critical struggles for civil rights. We need to be guided by our values and not by our fears,” Eva Millona, executive director of Massachusetts Immigrant Refugee Advocacy Coalition, told the panel. “Immigrants have always been an integral part of our social fabric, and we will not allow the federal government to divide us.”

    In 2014, about 150,000 immigrants were living illegally in Massachusetts, according to the Pew Research Center.

    Critics say sanctuaries hinder criminal and terrorist investigations, and local police should be working with federal authorities to enforce the law.

    “It’s active obstruction of immigration enforcement with the goal of shielding people from deportation,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative Washington think tank. “This bill would protect dangerous criminals.”
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