Will the Bay State be joining California as an official sanctuary state when it comes to cooperating with immigration authorities? That proposal appeared to be dead in Massachusetts last summer, but like a zombie, it’s rising from the grave for another walk around the block this month. The Boston Globe reports that the state’s police chiefs, formerly opponents of the measure, have been lured into supporting it by adjusting the bill so it’s not quite so strict in terms of dealing with ICE.
The state’s top police chiefs have breathed new life — and new controversy — into a bill that would limit state and local law enforcement’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities by endorsing a revised version of legislation that would turn Massachusetts into a so-called sanctuary state.
The Safe Communities Act, sponsored by Representative Juana Matias of Lawrence and Senator Jamie Eldridge of Acton, had been criticized by law enforcement and by Governor Charlie Baker, who has said he opposes the bill.
But after working with the sponsors on a compromise, the police chiefs officially endorsed a revised version of the bill Tuesday.
So here’s the compromise. Previously the bill would have banned any and all cooperation with ICE by police. No detainers, no sharing of information… nothing. That was several steps too far for the cops who refused to give their endorsement despite significant pressure from state legislators. The newly revised bill allows the police the option of accepting an ICE detainer and holding an illegal alien in jail, but only for up to six hours.
That’s inconvenient for ICE but better than nothing I suppose. Still, if you’re going to accept detainers and place a hold on illegal aliens when asked to do so, doesn’t that sort of deflate the entire concept of being “a sanctuary state” for the most part? If you’re going to be cooperating, then you’re really just a regular state putting on the fancy dress attire of a sanctuary state to tell people you don’t like Donald Trump. What’s the point?
It all may still be for nothing, however. The bill would have to make it past the Governor and he’s already gone on record pretty strongly against it.
“The safety and security of our communities is a top priority for our administration, and I oppose this bill that would prohibit law enforcement from enforcing bipartisan policies that have been in place for 10 years and prevented violent and dangerous convicted criminals from being released back onto our streets.”
The newly altered bill doesn’t remove the concerns expressed by the governor. It merely dampens them down a bit. If ICE can’t be contacted promptly or if their agents are busy and can’t make it to the jail in six hours, the criminal illegal alien still winds up “back onto our streets.” If Baker caves now and goes along with it, this will look like a serious case of pandering on a subject which he previously stressed as being very important.