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Immigrant residents of Massachusetts are terrified by Pres. Trump’s assault on their lives and liberties and ICE’s stepped up efforts to detain and deport them.  State action to reaffirm immigrants’ constitutional rights and to protect against detention and deportation is more urgent than ever.

The  Massachusetts Constitution ensures the safety of all people in our Commonwealth, including immigrants. The Safe Communities Act would protect us all by making sure our tax dollars are not used to enforce draconian federal immigration laws. This powerful new version of the Trust Act is sponsored by  Senator Jamie Eldridge  and  Representative Juana Matías (HD.3052).

The Safe Communities Act is a broad civil rights bill which will not only end cooperation between local police departments and ICE but will also outlaw use of state data bases for the proposed Muslim registry, ensure basic Due Process Rights for people detained in state and local facilities for civil immigration violations, and prohibit local police from being deputized as ICE agents.

The House bill (HD 3052)  has been  co-sponsored by 86 legislators and  endorsed by 82 organizations to date, including UJP.  The Senate version (S1305) has been co-sponsored by 51 as of March 10, 2017 and co-sponsors can still sign on.  This is an exciting level of support, way beyond anything we’ve seen before.  Sen. Eldrige and Rep. Matias are seeking expedited passage given the importance of having this legislation in place as rapidly as possible. 

Unfortunately, Gov. Baker still refuses to support the bill and argues that he doesn’t believe in state-wide “thou shalt” laws.  This is absurd.  The Governor has a responsibility to protect the civil rights of all state residents from unconstitutional federal overreach.  We need to exert as much pressure as possible to make him see that he will face voter outrage for vetoing  this critical bill. 

House Speaker, DeLeo  has a “gut feeling” that this should be a local issue and he too needs to know his position is unacceptable.  While Senate President, Stanley Rosenberg, has supported immigrant rights legislation in the past, he has yet to announce where he stands on the Safe Communities Act.

What can you do?  Call these key decision-makers,  ideally over and over again

Gov. Charlie Baker, 617-725-4005

Speaker Robert DeLeo   617-722-2500

Pres. Stanley Rosenberg’   617-722-1500

Let them know that the Act’s protections are not only for undocumented immigrants but for all Mass residents in these perilous times. Tell them their humanity demands they stand on the right side of history and support the Safe Communities Act.

by Vickie Steinitz, UJP-Cambridge

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