The newest bill proposed by Massachusetts lawmakers is to become a sanctuary state. This allows the state to harbor illegal immigrants. It also restricts cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Trump’s immigration policies prompted the debate.
On Friday, the hearing for the bill took place on Beacon Hill. Despite the immense support, the bill may not pass. Opposing the bill are two government officials: Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo. In a written statement, Baker claimed the bill would “prevent the Massachusetts State Police from upholding our policy to detain individuals for federal authorities that have been convicted of heinous crimes, like murder and rape.” Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo voiced his opposition. He asserted that he would rather leave it to towns and cities to decide sanctuary status.
Governor Baker today released a statement on the “Safe Communities Act," currently before the Committee on Public Safety & Homeland Security pic.twitter.com/Ijm9LoN2iw
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) June 9, 2017
The Sanctuary State Bill
Lawmakers support the bill because it would improve trust between illegal immigrants and law enforcement. The bill gained support because the police would not be able to report illegal immigrants. Protesters are fearful that the bill will threaten public safety.
Concerns of Becoming a Sanctuary State
In 2011, Nicolas Dutan Guaman, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, struck Matthew Denice, a citizen of Massachusetts. Denice was riding a motorcycle when Guaman struck him with a truck. Guaman then dragged Denice down the street with his truck and drove drunkenly without a license. He is now in jail for 12 to 14 years. He will then be on probation for 10 years.
Denice’s mother, Maureen Maloney, spoke out on the threat of illegal immigration. “Being in the country illegally is a crime,” said Maloney. “It’s a civil offense, but it’s still breaking our law. And then to survive in this country you have to continue to break the laws, whether it’s either working using fraudulent I.D. or a Social Security number, or you’re working off the books and evading taxes.”
If the sanctuary bill passes, it will be much more difficult to deport criminals who seek refuge in Massachusetts. Though illegal immigrants fear deportation, it is important to realize they are not here legally. They broke the law by stepping foot into the United States. Harboring criminals is not constitutional. Feelings should not challenge what is right.