14 replies on “Say no to “sanctuary state” proposal.”

  1. Hi Nancy,

    I feel that who gets into the country is a federal issue and, at the state level, our general approach should be to make all people feel welcome and work to integrate them into our society. Nothing good will come from isolating immigrants from our institutions.

    So, without addressing all the details of the issue, I am generally supportive of Byron’s bill, which is not a sanctuary bill — it does not require or condone the concealment or protection of undocumented persons from immigration authorities.

    Representative Rushing’s staff offered the following information in response to your inquiry:

    H. 125 would make it the policy of Massachusetts to “support and encourage any residents in their attempt to obtain legal immigration status and, if they choose, citizenship.” This language is based on an Executive Order that was issued by Governor Dukakis and later rescinded by Governor Weld. The general idea is to make clear the Massachusetts is welcome to immigrants who want to become citizens/gain legal status, and not to stigmatize immigrants by asking about their status unless required to do so by state or federal law or court decision. Why do this? Many immigrants are afraid to report crimes or cases of domestic violence because interaction with law enforcement may lead to questions about immigration status and ultimately deportation.

    This bill does not create a “Sanctuary State”: it specifically states that ICE can inquire about immigration status if required to do so by state or federal law or court decision. Further, it doesn’t include any language that would prevent or limit cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement as is included in most so-called “sanctuary city” bills. It also does not make new benefits instantly available to immigrants (I think the Herald article mentioned drivers licenses). Programs and benefits that are currently unavailable to non-citizens would remain so if this law passed. For example, federal law prevents a majority of non-citizens from accessing federally supported public housing. (A few lawfully-present legal immigration statuses are eligible for federal housing assistance). If an illegal immigrant applied for federal housing assistance with DHCD, DHCD could inquire about their immigration status to determine eligibility (because it is required by federal statute) and deny assistance based on their illegal immigration status.


    Here is a further fact sheet also provided by Representative Rushing’s office.

  2. Will, as you know, I support the humane sensible treatment of immigrants who have not met admin requirements for visas or citizenship in large part due to extreme bureaucratic delays as well as the circumstances under which they came to the US. or Mass. in the first place. Obviously our government and US DHS particularly (with regard to families seeking asylum) is still struggling with this. “Illegals” who have criminal records are another matter.

  3. Dear Senator Brownsberger:
    I am pleased by your support for the general concepts of Byron Rushing’s proposed bill. Making Massachusetts a welcoming community for all persons, including immigrants, and integrating them into our society and institutions are wise and humane policies, which will prove economically beneficial to our Commonwealth.

    I also support other current proposals to provide immigrants, whether or not documented, Mass. driver’s licenses and in-state higher education tuition rates – which would also offer fair and humane treatment for hard-working and economically productive members of our Commonwealth, and enhance safety in our communities. I hope you will also support effective legislation on these matters.

    Thank you.
    Myron Miller

  4. If any undocumented individual has a criminal record, I see no reason not to cooperate with any legal requests by fed, state or local law enforcement.

    However, if the person is stopped for changing lanes without signaling and charged with driving without a license I fail to see why MA or local gov’t have to cooperate with having them deported particularly when the spouse and kids (citizen kids) left behind are liable to become public charges because the breadwinner is gone.

  5. I oppose sanctuary laws for illegal immigrants and want my elected representatives to defend American citizens against illegal immigration. I also want voter identification laws which assure that those who come to vote are citizens and are who they say they are. I want protection against voter fraud and I think it is outrageous that politicians are currently opposing strong voter ID protection laws. If voters are honest, there is no need to oppose the requirement of an ID.

  6. It should not be the practice of the commonwealth to abet those which have broken federal law.

    Byron Rushing’s proposal undermines the value of visas, permanent legal residency, and citizenship by extending almost all the rights and privileges of those statuses to those which demonstrate a lack of courtesy in disrespecting the law and sovereignty of their host.

    Rewarding behavior results in more of it. Thusly, rewarding lawlessness will never be a net positive for the commonwealth.

    Please do not underestimate the exponentially detrimental effect of the public losing faith in the value of the rule of law and capacity of the state to enforce the rule of law. Once that faith is lost, it is exceedingly difficult to earn back.

  7. I am a former US Federal Officer from US department of Homeland Security (2003-2007). I was trained at the US Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Glynco, GA. Three Kinds of US Citizenship exists 1: Jus Soli, 2: Jus Sanguini and 3: Naturalization. As far as I know path to Citizenship is Naturalization path to Naturalization is Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) to become an LPR, USCIS has guidelines that are always followed. CIMT- Crime Involving Moral Turpitude or Crimes with Significant Immigration Consequences or any other Criminal Record is a disadvantage to any potential undocumented alien seeking change of status. Relevant Sections of Title 8 U.S C (Aliens and Nationality) is mandatory to be followed. No such thing as “Sanctuary” when it comes to undocumented alien and specially if an Alien is a Fugitive it affords an immediate “Grounds for Inadmissability” and potential for Expedited Removals.

  8. Dear Wil,
    We have immigration laws for several reasons: to limit the amount of aliens to a number we can accommodate, to screen them for health issues, to check their criminal history, and to ensure their desire to assimilate into our cultures.
    With a federal debt of $17 trillion, a Mass debt of $768 million, and a Belmont debt of $5 million, all on the backs of taxpayers, how can we afford to open our doors to people who need our financial assistance? We can’t even afford to take care of ourselves! Most politicians at all levels just keep spending tax money to buy votes, kicking the debt levels down the road for the future. I find it highly irresponsible to encourage illegal immigration with sanctuary locations, tax payer assistance, and failure to enforce immigration law. If you were in debt and struggling to care for your family, would you further harm your family by taking in a dependent trespasser? If our country doesn’t get their act together at all levels, I’m very fearful for our future.
    David Benoit

  9. This proposal is insane on so many levels that it shouldn’t even be put up for the discussion.
    As a LEGAL immigrant myself, I witnessed an incredible abuse of the system and drain of the public funds as is. Adding blanket immunity to the illegals will do nothing to solve the problem, but rather make Massachusetts a lucrative destination for swarms of illegals from other states!

  10. Dear Will, I am an immigrant and I have special sensitivity to immigrants. First I do not like the word “illegal”, it is too strong for the act of being an immigrant without permission to enter the US. Immigrant quotas are set for political reasons, sometimes are very arbitrary. Immigrants are all the same, they are poor people looking up, they are the basic fiber of this country. If they are here it is because we do not know how to enforce the quotas, and it is not their faults. Would you jail a person who stole a loaf of bread for his children because he had no money to buy it? Think about it. That is what illegal immigrants are. Many of them are abused, or taken advantage of, because of fear of being reported. We have to be able to enforce our existing laws at the borders. immigrants who have been here for a given time should be given an opportunity to become like other immigrants, with some affordable penalty for the transgression. Only the criminals should be deported, as are the criminals holding a green card. It is inhumane to deport ‘illegal’ immigrants, as it is inhumane to jail a person who stole a loaf of bread. Think about it.

  11. Dear Will,

    After have contributed my thoughts about ‘illegal’ immigrants, I read the comments of others, I also read the entire H.125. I fully agree with the bill and I wish you will support it and make it into law at once. ALL the residents of the Commonwealth will benefit from the law.

  12. I’m honestly not sure about having us be a ‘sanctuary’ state. However, I am equally opposed to the idea of just deporting everyone who doesn’t have the proper ‘papers’. The current US immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare, and coming here ‘legally’ is almost, but not quite, a random piece of luck. And a lot of people who boast that their forebears came here legally would be surprised and possibly upset at the machinations that were used by older generations of immigrants – marriages of convenience, claimed adoptions, appropriated names, etc. Or just sneaking over the less patrolled borders into less policed areas as happens now. So no, probably we shouldn’t be a sanctuary. But we should do things like allow in state tuition for people brought here as children, have some provision for legitimate complaints about employer exploitation, leave alone people who don’t get into unrelated legal troubles, not separate families. If someone who may not have all the right credentials behaves responsibly, leave them in peace. After all, they are the people who had the gumption to get up and leave home, for whatever reason.

  13. Further to my post yesterday – one of the reasons for increased ‘illegal’ immigration from at least Mexico and Honduras are (1)the economic impact of NAFTA, which destroyed the ability of a lot of subsistence farm workers and owners to make a living at all, and (2) the deportation policies which re-created violent gangs in Honduras, forcing people to flee.

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