Safe Communities / ACT After Jose Antonio Vargas

Progressive Mass is a member of the Safe Communities Coalition. 

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QUICK NAVIGATION:

>> HANDOUT FROM THE VARGAS EVENT: CALLING IN

>> TAKE ME TO THE ACTION STEPS 

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FAQS:

WHAT SAFE COMMUNITIES *IS*

WHAT SAFE COMMUNITIES *ISN'T*


 

What the Safe Communities Act IS

What is the Safe Communities Act?

The Safe Communities Act will protect the civil rights of all state residents by ensuring our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump Administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry. This powerful new version of the Trust Act, sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269), includes:

  • No state support for Muslim registry
  • Basic due process rights for people detained in state and local facilities for civil immigration violations.
  • Reserves the use of scarce police resources to fighting crime, not separating families.
  • Prohibits agreements with DHS that deputize local officers as immigration agents.

Why do we need the Safe Communities Act?

Jose’s story is just one of the millions of Americans who came here to seek security, fleeing destruction and violence. Trump has ordered the round-up of all undocumented workers, regardless of their situation, their contribution to society, or their family situation. The law currently allows MA Law Enforcement to aid in these deportations, which according to many law enforcement officers, decreases the safety of all community members. We need to send a strong message that reflects our values as a Commonwealth:

  • That ALL immigrants are welcome in our community
  • That we believe civil rights should be respected, including in the enforcement of immigration law.

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Other reasons to support the Safe Communities Act

  • THIS IS AN ACTION WE CAN TAKE to defy unjust policies and not collaborate with Trump.
  • Trump’s hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric has produced a climate of fear among the undocumented, to the point that some are avoiding sending their children to school or going to the doctor. The Act will reduce this fear, by sending a clear signal that peaceful, productive residents are welcome in our community, regardless of immigration status.
  • It will protect minorities: When local law enforcement is involved with enforcing immigration law, racial profiling is likely. This harms not only the undocumented, but makes all people of color potential targets for arrest, because they might “look” undocumented.
  • It will keep the economy strong: Deportations disrupt the economy by depleting the work force and pushing the undocumented into the underground economy.
  • Cooperating with Trump’s orders would cost us money, both from the extra duties and expensive lawsuits over violation of due process.
  • Half of ICE’s deportations are of undocumented who have no criminal record or those arrested with minor crimes (mostly breaking immigration or traffic laws). Trump and Governor Baker have tried to portray the deportations as only targeting dangerous criminals, but this is flat out not true. 
  • Many undocumented families have a way to gain legal status, but many are deported before they get the chance.

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Why is it called the “Safe Communities Act”?

Because it will make our communities safer, for immigrants and for everyone. Without it, the police will not be a source of help and protection, but of fear. When people do not trust the police, they are less likely to report information about crimes, making it harder for law enforcement to take criminals off the streets.

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What the Safe Communities Act is NOT

Clearing up some misconceptions about the Safe Communities Act

Will dangerous criminals be released without punishment because of Safe Communities?

No. The Act merely provides some due process protection for all residents. Those who are deemed a threat to public safety will not be released, just like under current law. Law enforcement will still be able to work with ICE to make arrests and detain people, as long as a judge issues a warrant. The Act was carefully crafted to allow law enforcement to go after criminals, while still respecting the civil rights of everyone. 

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Will Safe Communities cause an increase in crime?

Absolutely not! There are already plenty of sanctuary jurisdictions across the nation, and studies have found that sanctuary jurisdictions are actually safer than comparable non-sanctuary jurisdictions. 

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Won't Trump cut off funding to sanctuary jurisdictions?

Trump has ordered that federal funds be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions, but he probably doesn’t have this power. Its constitutionality is being challenged in court, and a federal court issued a temporary nationwide halt against enforcement of the order. So it looks like the threat to cut funding is an empty one.

And, the "Sanctuary" status that they would like to punish is VERY specific, and Safe Communities does not conform to those features. So, there's zero worry here. 

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How YOU can help

  1. ON MONDAY Call your state representative and state senator.
    Find your state legislators at scorecard.progressivemass.com/ (click Official Profile and Contact Info).
    See the sample call script attached.
    >>If s/he supports the Safe Communities Act, ask him/her to write a letter to the committee chairs of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
    >>If they are unsure or unfavorable, ask for a meeting--let us know --we can help! 
  2. Follow up with your state legislator a week later to confirm that they wrote the letter or to confirm your meeting.
  3. Talk to your friends and ask them to call their state legislators.
  4. JOIN PROGRESSIVE MASS--strengthen and join our community of everyday activists!

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