Equality and Justice, Front Page News

LWVMA Supports Safe Communities Act—April 5 Lobby Day

The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts supports the Safe Communities Act, a bill to protect the civil liberties of all Massachusetts residents, ensure due process rights to people detained for civil immigration violations and ensure police and other local/state law enforcement agencies do not participate in immigration enforcement.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 5, at the State House for Immigrants’ Day, a lobby day in support of this bill, sponsored by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) organization. Find information about the bill here.

We will be advocating on behalf of the 1 million foreign-born residents of the Commonwealth and talking to our legislators about why they should support the Safe Communities Act and other pro-immigration legislation.

The event begins at 9 a.m. at the State House and lobbying will go until 2 p.m. There will be keynote speakers in the Hall of Flags from 10 to 11 a.m., after which we encourage you to meet with your legislators. There will be a rally outside the State House 1 to 2 p.m.

To register with MIRA click here and for information on Lobby Day click here. Please also email Immigration Specialist Karen Price to let LWVMA know you are coming. MIRA advises everyone to make an appointment in advance with your legislators. You can find your legislators’ contact information here.

The Safe Communities Act is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. James Eldridge (S1305) and in the House by Rep. Juana Matias (H3269) and has over 90 co-sponsors.

Recent executive orders make all noncitizens fair game for immigration enforcement and threaten to withhold federal funding from jurisdictions whose police refuse to detain any individual identified as suspicious by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Complying with these federal detention requests damages the relationship between police and noncitizen community members and their allies, and takes up police time that should be used to enforce state criminal law. It also taxes local financial resources, since cities and states are expected to foot the bill for detention. The Massachusetts Legislature has the means to protect its immigrant population from these federal-state immigration enforcement partnerships by passing the Safe Communities Act.

LWVUS has come out strongly in support of such efforts at the state and local levels. In a 2017 statement it said: “The League supports cities, towns, counties and states that make a decision not to cooperate with federal deportation and enforcement actions that include non-criminal undocumented immigrants.”