On the heels of Governor Charlie Baker’s recent decision to allow the Massachusetts State Police to detain individuals based on immigration status and without a criminal warrant, Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim – who authored the Boston Trust Act and Wednesday introduced a unanimously passed resolution reaffirming the City of Boston’s refusal to adopt such a practice – released the following statement:
“Civil rights and liberties are universal – not something we pick and choose for people depending on where they come from or what they look like. Regretfully, Governor Baker’s recent policy reversal has endorsed a ‘selective rights’ approach in targeting our immigrant communities without due process. This new policy allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to co-opt our State Police for the purpose of carrying out a federal responsibility, misusing our limited tax dollars in the process.
“Boston is a safer, healthier city because we reject the notion that law enforcement can detain people in the absence of probable cause,” he continued. “The warrantless targeting of immigrants sows mistrust in our communities and discourages witnesses and victims of crimes from coming forward, making us all less secure. Moreover, requiring our police officers to enforce federal immigration laws is an inefficient use of finite public resources. I hope, but do not expect, Governor Baker to revisit this counterproductive and fiscally irresponsible decision.”
On August 20, 2014, the City Council unanimously passed the Boston Trust Act, which institutes a local policy of non-compliance with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers absent a criminal warrant.