Immigrant advocates pleased with SJC ruling, but want state to go further

Lawmakers still pushing "Safe Communities Act"

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that detentions for federal immigration enforcement is not permitted by state law. The ruling came as immigrant advocates and several lawmakers are pushing for Massachusetts to become a “sanctuary state.” They told 22News that the SJC ruling supports their efforts, but they want to take it further.

The ruling held that state law does not permit court officers to arrest or detain people for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some state lawmakers hope to build on the ruling by passing a bill known as the “Safe Communities Act.”

The proposal would prohibit state resources and police from being used for federal immigration enforcement. It would also prevent officials from collaborating or notifying ICE of certain court appearances.

“We look forward to continue the efforts to make sure that we have our local police officers doing the work that we have hired them to do,” Rep. Carlos Gonzalez (D-Springfield) said.

A few Republican lawmakers, however, filed a bill Tuesday to counter the SJC ruling; giving police the power to arrest people on behalf of ICE.

The Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security is currently reviewing the “sanctuary state” bill.