Greenfield police chief released statement on mayor’s immigration order

Says all members of the community should feel comfortable communicating with police

robert haigh greenfield police chief
Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh is seen here in a WWLP file image from February 2017.

GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Greenfield’s police chief says that his department will continue to pursue those who violate criminal laws, regardless of their immigration status. Chief Robert Haigh released a statement Friday morning, following an executive order issued by Mayor William Martin regarding immigration.

In his order, Martin wrote that “Greenfield aims to be a safe city for all residents,” and ordered that Greenfield police not be deputized to enforce federal immigration law without his expressed authorization.

“Officers of the Greenfield Police Department will not inquire as to an individual’s immigration status, unless the status of the individual’s immigration is pertinent to a criminal matter, criminal investigation, or otherwise required by federal and state law,” the order states.

Greenfield’s mayor issues immigration executive order

Haigh wrote in his statement that immigration policy is a federal, and not a local matter, and he said that any decision regarding whether to use local officers for immigration enforcement can only be made by local government.

“It is not in the Greenfield Police Department’s purview to distinguish or determine one individual’s immigration status when encountering them within our community. All members of the community should feel comfortable communicating with the Greenfield Police Department without concern for their immigration status,” Haigh wrote.

The chief added, however, that those who are in the United States illegally will still be prosecuted for any violations of criminal law, just like everybody else.

“The Greenfield Police Department is committed to continuing to arrest or pursue charges for anyone who violates the criminal law of our jurisdictions regardless of the immigration status of the perpetrator,” Haigh wrote. “Those individuals, regardless of their citizenship status, who commit criminal acts will find no safe harbor from their criminal violations of the law, and will face criminal prosecution.”

Martin’s order, which was publicly released on Thursday night, does not specifically refer to Greenfield as a “sanctuary city.”