“Bill ending state, local law enforcement involvement in deportations now one critical step closer to becoming law”
It’s been a long legislative slog for immigrant advocates to arrive at this juncture, but here’s what members of the Safe Communities Coalition are reporting from Beacon Hill this morning:
The Safe Communities Act (S.1579 and H.2418) is now one critical step closer to becoming law in Massachusetts. The bill was reported favorably out of the state’s Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security to the House and is now under consideration by the Joint Committee on Ways and Means. This is typically the final stop for legislation before being sent to the floor of the House and Senate.
“We are thrilled to see the Safe Communities Act advance one step closer to becoming law,” said Elizabeth Sweet, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.
“This legislation is a public safety and public health imperative, and that’s why it has widespread support from health care providers, law enforcement, immigrant leaders and advocates, the business community and more. We’re grateful to our legislative champions Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Ruth Balser, and Representative Liz Miranda, as well as to the members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, for advancing this critical bill today. We urge the leadership of both chambers to act with urgency to advance the Safe Communities Act and help ensure that our immigrant communities can access the medical care, emergency assistance and court and police protection they need without fear of immigration consequences.”
Sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Ruth Balser, and Representative Liz Miranda, the Safe Communities Act would end the longstanding involvement of Massachusetts police, courts and sheriffs in deportations, which drives a wedge between immigrant communities and public authorities. Over 50 Massachusetts municipalities have adopted related measures in recent years, and many police departments already embrace this commonsense policy. Creating a uniform standard across the state will send a powerful message to immigrant communities that they can get the help and protection they need without fear of immigration consequences.
Last legislative session, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security recommended the Safe Communities Act for passage, but it did not advance beyond the Committee on Ways and Means.