Lawmakers considering Gov. Baker’s immigration enforcement bill

The legislature sent the proposal to the Judiciary Committee Monday

[Video: Antonio Caban/SHNS]

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are considering an immigration enforcement bill by Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts). The legislature sent the proposal to the Judiciary Committee Monday.

Governor Baker said “local officials are in the best position to decide whether and to what extent they should cooperate with the federal government on immigration detention matters.”

The Governor’s proposal authorizes, but does not require, state and local law enforcement to honor U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention requests for immigrants who are living in the country illegally, who pose a threat to public safety.

But the Supreme Judicial Court ruled just a couple weeks ago that state law does not permit detentions for federal immigration enforcement .

“Murder, rape, drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism-those people, we believe, we should be able to engage the feds with,” Baker said.

State Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) told 22News he supports the Governor’s legislation to protect the community. Representative Lyons and a group of Republican lawmakers filed a similar proposal.

Although Governor Baker said his legislation addresses public safety, State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) told 22News communities are safer when police can focus on local crime.

“In situations where police are not enforcing immigration detainers or immigration law, the community is safer because police are focused on keeping the streets safe,” Eldridge said.

More than a dozen western Massachusetts groups plan to gather at the State Office Building on Dwight Street in Springfield on Tuesday to call on Governor Baker to withdraw his proposal.