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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    'Trust Act' revives debate over Massachusetts enforcement of immigration law

    By Shira Schoenberg on February 04, 2016 at 1:45 PM, updated February 04, 2016 at 1:46 PM

    BOSTON - Immigrant groups are renewing their lobbying push for a bill that would prohibit state or local police from arresting or detaining an undocumented immigrant solely because of his immigration status.

    "What this bill does is it restores the trust between the immigrant communities and local law enforcement agencies," said Patricia Montes, director of Centro Presente, which advocates for Central American immigrants.

    Centro Presente has been advocating for versions of the bill for four years. A similar bill was previously recommended by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, but did not become law. It was reintroduced this session, and the committee held a hearing on it on Thursday. The bill is opposed by some law enforcement agencies, who say it is unnecessary and will deprive law enforcement of a public safety tool.

    "Why would any lawmaker want law enforcement to have less rather than more tools to keep our community and citizens and legal residents safe?" asked Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson.

    The bill, S.1258/H.1228, referred to by supporters as the "Trust Act," was sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, and Rep. Evandro Carvalho, D-Dorchester.

    The bill states that no Massachusetts law enforcement official can arrest, detain or deny bail to an inmate solely because of a civil immigration detainer or warrant issued by federal immigration officials. The bill would prevent state law enforcement from giving federal immigration officials access to Massachusetts inmates or from letting federal officials use state facilities for immigration interviews. State officials could not give immigration officials access to booking lists or information about inmates' release dates.

    Eldridge said the problem today is that undocumented immigrants are afraid to call the police when they are the victim of a crime or when they see a crime happening in their neighborhood.

    "We need to separate federal laws, including immigration, from local and state laws," Eldridge said.

    Eldridge said a person who is arrested would be fingerprinted and have their criminal history checked. The police would still be able to notify federal immigration officials if a person has a criminal record.

    Montes said her group is "not defending criminals," but trying to restore trust between immigrants and law enforcement.

    "Many times our communities are afraid to report crimes, because they think they are going to be detained and deported just because they don't have documents," Montes said.

    But Norwood Police Chief Bill Brooks, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, said under current law, immigrants are not being deported just because of their immigration status. He said he has seen very few immigration detainers, and the ones he has seen are for people with criminal records.

    "I have not seen an immigration detainer that I can remember that was just because some guy's in the country illegally," Brooks said. "That's not the way (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) operates."

    Brooks acknowledged that there is distrust between immigrants and the police, but he thinks the solution is in having the police reach out to immigrant communities and tell people that they will not be deported for reporting a crime.

    "They continue to think that if they talk to the police that they might get deported," Brooks said. "I think that's the real problem. It's one of perception, not the reality."

    Under President Barack Obama, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has prioritized deporting undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of crimes or who are caught at the border. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement statistics, in fiscal year 2015, 91 percent of immigrants deported from the interior of the U.S. (as opposed to those caught at the border) were previously convicted of a crime.

    Gov. Charlie Baker has said if a bill like the Trust Act were to come to his desk, he would veto it. Baker said in August that the state should not dictate to local officials whether they can cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

    http://www.masslive.com/politics/ind...bate_over.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
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    "Brooks acknowledged that there is distrust between immigrants and the police,"

    Which is nobody's fault but their own and sometimes called paranoia. I am tired of hearing this trust thing as a constant excuse to tolerate illegals. Like another red herring "racial profiling" it flies in the face of every advancement in making police work politically responsive and fair.
    "Men of low degree are vanity, Men of high degree are a lie. " David
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