Massachusetts quietly begins rethinking that whole sanctuary thing

While you won’t catch any Democrats admitting it publicly, the Bay State may be getting ready to roll back some of their “sanctuary state” status. The Governor, Charlie Baker, has submitted draft legislation which would allow (though not mandate) police to honor ICE detainers and hold illegal aliens arrested for other crimes so that immigration enforcement officials can pick them up for processing and deportation. No matter how they try to spin it (and they are definitely trying, as we’ll get to in a moment), this is big news. (Boston Globe)

A bill that would allow — but not require — local police in Massachusetts to detain immigrants at the request of federal authorities is not in response to pressure from the Trump administration, Daniel Bennett, the state’s secretary of public safety and security, testified at the State House Tuesday.

Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed legislation formalizes what was an informal practice during the Obama administration, Bennett told the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Local authorities, if they previously chose to, could hold an immigrant wanted by federal immigration officials for up to 48 hours, he said.

But in July, the Supreme Judicial Court determined that police officers don’t have the authority under Massachusetts law to comply with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Doing so, the state’s highest court said, would be akin to an illegal arrest.

So basically, everyone is tripping over themselves to assure the good people of Massachusetts that they are in no way, no how, in any fashion whatsoever doing this because of President Trump, Jeff Sessions or their policies concerning criminal illegal aliens. Nope. Not them. No siree. The state’s secretary of public safety and security had to be trotted out before the cameras to make this crystal clear and a spokesperson for the Governor was doing likewise.

The first curious part of this spin festival is that the Governor is pointing out an inconvenient truth, to borrow a phase from Al Gore. Allowing the cops to hold an illegal alien for ICE was actually their stated policy when Barack Obama was in office. It only became “a bad idea” after Trump was elected. Funny how that works, huh?

But there’s also one awkward fact that the Governor can’t dodge. Last week Boston was presumably on the list of cities which received a rather pointed letter from the Department of Justice asking for proof of whether or not they allowed cooperation with immigration officials in the pursuit of criminal illegal aliens. A failure to comply obviously puts them in line for reduced or eliminated JAG grant money next year. And now we’re being asked to believe that the arrival of the letter and this proposed legislation coming only a week later are completely unrelated.

Sure thing, boss. Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.

But that bill is at the state level and, as I already mentioned, not mandatory. Boston is still standing firm in their plans to be a sanctuary city.

Boston is — and will remain — a sanctuary city, Alejandra St. Guillen, director of immigrant advancement for the city of Boston, told the committee on Tuesday.

Baker’s bill, she said, will “erode trust” between immigrant communities and police officers and is a “step in the wrong direction.”

It seems as if Governor Baker is playing this in a clever fashion. He can allow the City of Boston to tank their federal grant money while still holding the door open for aid for the State Police and any other towns and cities wishing to comply. Assuming he gets the bill pushed through, he’s kind of throwing the Mayor of Boston under the bus, but hey… when you’re making an omelet, sometimes you have to crack a few eggs, right?