Workers & immigrants ask Massachusetts lawmakers to protect their rights

More than 50 state lawmakers support the "Safe Communities Act"

(CNN)

BOSTON (WWLP) – More than 100 residents, workers and immigrants rallied at the State House for International Workers Day, which happens every year on May 1st. This rally is part of a national movement in opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

Workers and immigrants are calling on Governor Charlie Baker to do more to protect their rights, which they fear are in jeopardy under the Trump administration. Sadia Mohammed, a refugee said, “I worry that my children are being isolated from my heritage and my family.”

The groups are calling on state lawmakers to support the “Safe Communities Act” that would prevent state funds from being used for federal immigration enforcement, effectively making Massachusetts a “sanctuary state”. If passed, the bill would prevent local and state police from deporting residents who haven’t  committed any crimes.

The Trump administration threatened to take away federal funding from “sanctuary states”, but last week a federal court blocked the plan.

“If certain communities of color feel they are being targeted, they will not report real crimes and that puts everyone’s safety at risk,” Vice President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union Roxana Rivera explained.

Critics argue that they don’t want tax money going to undocumented residents, but State Senator James Eldridge told 22News that deportation would still be funded by taxpayer dollars. “If we don’t pass the safe communities act, local and state police are going to use our taxpayer dollars to help deport immigrants and therefore waste even more taxpayer money.”

More than 50 state lawmakers support the bill, which is expected to be reviewed later this session.