State House hearing on the Safe Communities Act

The Safe Communities Act Hearing will occur on Friday, June 9. It starts at 10 am and goes until 3 pm; if you can join us, please allow ample time for making it through security at the Massachusetts State House.

The hearing is scheduled to be in Rooms A1/A2, but be aware it may be moved to a larger venue in the morning. In any case, there will be signup sheets at a table by the door to the hearing room so individuals and groups may get on the list to offer public testimony. We are expecting a very large crowd, so if you wish to speak, please be prepared to wait it out as needed. Remarks are typically limited to three minutes per person.

Also, ACLU Massachusetts will be providing folks with lobbying materials in Room 437 starting at 10 am tomorrow. If you are not sure who your legislators are or where they stand on this issue, you can visit that room to get information and materials to make your voice heard.

So, what is the Massachusetts Safe Communities Act all about? MIRA has provided this fact sheet about what this legislation will accomplish:

  • No state support for Muslim registry. Prohibits access to information in state databases for use in any federal registry program based on national origin, religion or other protected characteristics.

  • Ensures Basic Due Process Rights for people detained in state and local facilities for civil immigration violations. Requires informing detainees that they have the right to decline an interview with ICE agents, and to have their own attorney present (at their own expense) if they so choose.

  • Using police resources to fight crime, not separate families. Ensures that state, local and campus police don’t participate in immigration enforcement activities, including inquiries, investigations, raids, arrests or detentions that are based solely on immigration status.

  • Prohibits agreements with DHS that deputize local officers as immigration agents, including county officers in Bristol and Plymouth sheriff's departments.

Finally, a big thank you to our Massachusetts Safe Communities Act lead sponsors, Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Juana Matias. We are all so grateful for their constant leadership in support of immigrants and refugees!