Boston New Sanctuary Movement
Called by our faiths to welcome the stranger
Sign on your organization in support of the TRUST Act
The Boston New Sanctuary Movement encourages faith organizations to sign on in support of the TRUST Act, a bill that would limit Massachusetts' participation in the federal "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) deportation program. This program has led to unjust detentions, families torn apart, and whole communities afraid to contact the police. S-Comm was activated by the federal government in May 2012 despite the opposition of Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. You may add your organization's name to our sign-on letter by filling out this short form.
Dear Massachusetts State Legislature,
As people of faith we see the impact every day of the federal government's flawed "Secure Communities" (S-Comm) deportation program. In our social service ministries, our pews across the communities we serve we see people unjustly detained, families torn apart and whole communities afraid to contact the police."
That is why we see it as a religious imperative to stand with a broad spectrum of labor, immigration advocacy, and civil rights groups working with immigrant communities and survivors of domestic violence call for the introduction and passage of the TRUST Act, a bill that would help improve public safety by limiting Massachusetts's participation in Immigration Custom and Enforcement's (ICE) S-Comm deportation program. We strongly urge you to support this bill.
S-Comm is a federal deportation program that turns state and local law enforcement into immigration agents and derails public safety efforts. ICE created the S-Comm program in 2008 and expanded it by misleading local and state law enforcement about the design of the program and what it would achieve. As a result of the misinformation and poor performance of S-Comm, in June 2010, Governor Deval Patrick officially requested that the federal government not activate the program in Massachusetts, citing concerns about racial profiling and the strain between community and police relationships.
In spite of the Governor and Boston Mayor Menino's vocal opposition to the S-Comm program, the federal government activated S-Comm across all of Massachusetts May, 2012.
Since then we've seen how S-Comm continues to operate as a dragnet that uproots immigrants in Massachusetts from their lives and tears Massachusetts families apart. Thousands of children are in foster care because their parents were forcibly taken from them by the federal government.1 Residents of immigrant communities are afraid to contact the police or other government agencies, for fear of deportation proceedings against them or another family member. And contrary to ICE's rhetoric about deporting "dangerous criminals," an alarming 50% of Massachusetts residents deported by S-Comm have no criminal history.2 In Massachusetts and throughout the country, S-Comm has hampered successful community policing strategies and punished victims for reporting crimes. Domestic violence survivors, U.S. citizens, and immigrants have all been wrongfully detained under S-Comm and, in some cases, deported.3
The Massachusetts TRUST Act would solve these problems by declining ICE's administrative hold requests and allowing families to stay together. The bill will preserve state and local resources for Massachusetts' public safety needs and promote fairness in the criminal justice system.
Cities and Counties around the United States have already enacted similar legislation, including Santa Clara County, California, Cook County, Illinois, Washington, DC, and New York City. The Connecticut Department of Corrections has also established a statewide protocol to protect state resources and limit responses to these immigration hold requests. Moreover, class action lawsuits in Illinois, Connecticut, and California challenge the entire constitutionality of states' compliance ICE hold requests.
As people of faith we know that trust is an essential component of stable, safe and life affirming communities. Unfortunately ICE's S-Comm program has destroyed that trust across Massachusetts. Join us in restoring that trust by supporting the introduction and passage of the Massachusetts TRUST Act. People of faith and communities across the state look to your leadership.
If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Gabriel Camacho at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Applied Research Center, Shattered Families: The Perilous Intersection of Immigration Enforcement and the Child Welfare System (Nov. 2011), available at http://arc.org/shatteredfamilies.
2 ICE, Secure Communities Monthly Statistics (Oct. 27, 2008 through July 31, 2012), available at: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/foia/sc-stats/nationwide_interop_stats-fy2012-to-date.pdf
3 Aarti Kohli, Peter Markowitz, and Lisa Chavez, Secure Communities by the Numbers: An Analysis of Demographics and Due Process (2011), available at http://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Secure_Communities_by_the_Numbers.pdf; see also Kathleen Conti, "Fingerprint Rule Trigger Fear for Some Immigrants," BOSTON GLOBE (June 14, 2012); Maria Sachetti, "Traffic Cases Settled but Deportation Looms," BOSTON GLOBE (July 3, 2011); Stephen Magagnini, "Deported Mexicans leave two small kids in Lodi," SACRAMENTO BEE (Nov. 2, 2010).