MAHSD is supporting The Safe Communities Act. This legislation would protect the civil rights of immigrants and ensure that no family in Massachusetts has to live in fear.
About the Safe Communities Act
This legislation, HD.1520/SD. 926, has been spearheaded by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Association and is currently sponsored by Rep. Balser, Rep. Miranda and Sen. Eldridge. Through five components, described below, it allows all immigrants to more comfortably and effectively interact with law enforcement.
No more questioning immigration status: Many immigrants fear that calling 911 or speaking to police will lead to separation from family members – especially children –making them more vulnerable to domestic abuse, wage theft and other crimes. This bill bars enforcement and court personnel from asking people about their status unless required by law. The State Police have a similar policy already.
Protects due process: Non-citizens often make statements or sign documents jeopardizing their immigration cases because “Miranda” warnings are not required in the civil immigration context. This bill requires local police to explain a right to decline an interview or have their own attorney present before non-citizens are introduced to Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Limits notifications to ICE: Sometimes law enforcement will call ICE to try to keep an immigrant from going free when they can no longer hold them, even though a citizen would go free. This bill bars police, court officers and jail officials from notifying ICE that someone is about to be released. It still allow notifications to ICE if a person is being released after serving a criminal sentence.
No more 287(g) agreements: Currently, state and county personnel are allowed to form 287(g) that allow them to act as federal immigration agents, at state taxpayers’ expense Such contracts are the most extreme form of entanglement with ICE, and when they shift people into ICE custody before they can go to court, they undermine due process. Massachusetts is the only state in New England to have such agreements, and we have four: with Bristol, Barnstable Plymouth counties, and the Department of Corrections. This bill ends all 287(g) contracts with ICE.
Provides crucial training and accountability: This bill requires law enforcement agencies to train their personnel about this law, and if there is an alleged violation, people can file a complaint with the relevant agency or the Attorney General. These provisions would help ensure transparency and tackle problems as they arise.
More info about the Safe Communities Act coming soon!