Safe Communities Act

You shall treat the stranger who resides with you as the native-born among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Creator your G-d.  -Leviticus 19:34

You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.  -Exodus 22:21

Because of our dedication to immigrants’ rights and human dignity, we here at the NE JLC strongly support the Safe Communities Act. The Safe Communities Act would make Massachusetts a sanctuary state and keep our state funds from building a Muslim registry. This critically important bill would protect our immigrant friends and neighbors to make our state a safer place for all. This bill is sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269)

We encourage you to support the Safe Communities Act by attending the State House hearing on the bill on June 9; calling your State Senator and Representative, Governor Baker, and your mayor about the bill; and/or emailing us at newenglandjlc@gmail.com to get more involved.


KEY FEATURES OF THE SAFE COMMUNITIES ACT

  1. Prohibits state support for any Muslim registry. Prohibits law enforcement agencies and the Registry of Motor Vehicles from allowing access to databases or records for enforcement of any federal registry program based on national origin, religion or other protected characteristics.
  2. Ensures basic due process rights for immigrants detained in state and local facilities. Requires informing detainees – in a language they understand – that they have the right to decline an interview with ICE agents, and to have their own attorney present (at their own expense) if they so choose.
  3. Ensures that police resources are used to fight crime, not separate families. Ensures that state, local and campus police don’t participate in federal immigration enforcement activities, including participation in inquiries, investigations, raids, arrests or detentions that are based solely on immigration status. When police become ICE agents, immigrant victims and witnesses of crime are afraid to call police, which makes us all less safe.
  4. Prohibits collaboration agreements between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and law enforcement agencies that deputize state and local officers as immigration agents, like those recently concluded by Bristol and Plymouth counties.
  5. Upholds constitutional standards. The bill puts citizens and non-citizens on equal footing with respect to law enforcement. It would not prevent police from arresting or detaining a person in the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution supported by probable cause of a crime, which is consistent with constitutional standards applicable to all people in the Commonwealth.
  6. Conforms to federal law. The bill contains several provisions ensuring compliance with federal law, specifically 8 U.S.C. § 1373, which prohibits state and local governments from restricting the exchange of information about citizenship or immigration status.

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*Image via United We Dream (www.heretostay.org).

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