Amherst Sanctuary Community Bylaw approved

AG Healey approved bylaw Friday

Amherst Town Hall is seen here in a WWLP file image.

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Attorney General Maura Healey has approved the Town of Amherst’s Sanctuary Community Bylaw.

According to a release sent to 22News by Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, the bylaw “limits police investigatory authority based on immigration status, prohibits police detentions based on civil immigration detainer requests or ICE administrative warrants, and requires reports of the number of civil immigration detainer requests lodged with the town and the town’s response to the requests.”

Amherst considering “sanctuary city” bylaw

Healey said she approved the bylaw because it does not conflict with the Constitution or state law. Amherst Police Chief Scott Livingstone said in the release that the bylaw closely follows their current department policies.

In January, Bockelman, Livingstone and Superintendent of Schools Michael Morris, released a joint statement clarifying that Amherst is a welcoming community that doesn’t seek-out undocumented immigrants.

Amherst issues statement welcoming immigrants

A group of Amherst residents first filed a petition to have the Town Meeting consider adopting such a bylaw in March. From there, it was approved by the Town Meeting and moved up for Healey’s approval.