Dear Sen. Brownsberger,
I urge you to support and to bring to a vote S1135/H1613, the Massachusetts Trust Act.
It is no secret that our federal immigration policy is severely broken, littered with outdated and inhumane laws. While Congress continues to argue and debate, thousands of people are being deported, leaving children without parents and families without breadwinners. I have personally met many undocumented immigrants who want nothing more than a chance to work hard and create a better life—something our country used to pride itself on providing.
Right now, programs like Secure Communities (implemented in MA despite Gov. Patrick’s objections) are tying up precious resources by using local law enforcement agents as federal immigration officers. We need our local police to be addressing true threats to our communities, not detaining people whose crimes were committed and paid for decades ago. We need community residents to feel they can trust their officers to help them when they are victims or witnesses to criminal behavior, not worrying about whether they will be deported if they identify themselves.
You have written in the past that you believe immigration enforcement should be handled on the federal level where it belongs, and I agree completely. The MA Trust Act will do exactly that, freeing our police to do what they should be doing—serving our local communities. It’s time for our state to join California, Connecticut, Washington D.C., and counties all across the country in doing the right thing.
Update: Summary of Senator Eldridge’s 2015-2016 bill on the Massachusetts Trust Act.
SD1698, Senator Eldridge, An Act to restore community trust in Massachusetts law enforcement.
As described in an email from Senator Eldridge, “This bill seeks to improve relations between Massachusetts law enforcement and the communities they serve by limiting state efforts to enforce controversial federal immigration law. The Trust Act is proposed legislation that will ease the unfair burden currently placed on local governments and improve public safety for everyone by establishing that Massachusetts law enforcement officials are not involved in immigration enforcement. The bill will prevent the damaging effects of the program, including broken families and communities, damaged public safety, misuse of local resources, and unequal access to justice.”