Immigrant rights activists protest Governor Baker’s immigration enforcement bill

The bill is currently under review by the Judiciary Committee

BOSTON (WWLP)–Governor Charlie Baker (R-Massachusetts) is pushing a bill that authorizes state and local police to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts to catch dangerous criminals. But protesters are calling the bill anti-immigrant legislation.

Dozens of activists with “Centro Presente” and the “Brazilian Worker Center,” many of them immigrants, gathered at the State House to protest Governor Baker’s immigration bill.

The proposal would authorize state and local law enforcement to detain immigrants who are living in the country illegally and pose a threat to public safety.

“People who have committed violent crimes, who’ve been convicted of violent crimes: murder, rape, drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism,” said Baker.

Just last month, the state’s highest court ruled that state law does not permit detentions for federal immigration enforcement.

Governor Baker said the legislation will keep communities safe from dangerous criminals convicted of crimes like rape and murder. But immigrant rights activists told 22News the legislation could lead to racial profiling.

“It’s going to profile people just because of the way how they look like, the way how they speak,” said Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente. “We are not criminals we’re people that live here who pay taxes who live here and we have rights.”

Similar demonstrations were also held in Springfield and Worcester on Tuesday.

The legislation is currently under review by the state’s Judiciary Committee.