We did it! Late night on May 23, the Massachusetts Senate adopted a historic amendment (#1147) to the state’s FY19 budget with a 25-13 vote that would establish strong civil rights protections for undocumented immigrants and Muslim-Americans in Massachusetts.
The Civil Rights and Safety amendment, filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge and co-sponsored by 17 of his colleagues, would build on last summer’s historic SJC “Lunn” decision by implementing the following four measures from the Safe Communities Act:
- Ensure that police and other law enforcement officials refrain from inquiring about a person’s immigration status unless required by law.
- Require police to inform persons of their right to decline an ICE interview or to have a private attorney present, and to obtain the person’s consent before an interview. Because “Miranda” warnings are not constitutionally required in the civil immigration context, noncitizens are often unaware that they have the right to seek legal help before consenting to an interview with ICE.
- Prohibit 287(g) agreements, which deputize local and state law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law. Bristol County Sheriff, Tom Hodgson is actually still executing ICE detainers despite the Lunn decision by claiming his 287(g) agreement makes his officers federal immigration agents not subject to state law.
- Ensure that Massachusetts resources are not used to create or help the federal government create any federal program requiring registration of persons on the basis of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, nationality, citizenship, ethnicity, or age.
Thank you to the 25 Senators for your courageous and historic vote to ensure that all Massachusetts residents enjoy equal rights under the law. (Please call YOUR state senator with thanks or disappointment, as appropriate)
Our work is not done!
The House did not include these measures in their FY19 budget proposal and House Speaker DeLeo has indicated that he is not supportive of the Senate’s historic amendment.
From now until the two chambers reconcile their differences in what is called a conference committee, we must organize every single week to achieve 1 goal: demand that House members make this a priority in conference committee.