Not Having It: Rep. Calter claps back at Mass Fiscal


Mass Fiscal is sending out postcards to voters designed to mislead and provoke a backlash against the Safe Communities Act. We were delighted to receive Rep. Calter's comprehensive and emailed response to his constituents.

Bravo and thank you Rep. Calter, for being a strong advocate for due process, keeping our communities SAFE, and rejecting xenophobic fear tactics. 

The email is quoted in full below: 

As you may be aware, Mass Fiscal Alliance sent out post cards to residents that misrepresents the substantive elements of House Bill 3269, The Safe Communities Act. Because Mass Fiscal Alliance has a total disregard for truths that do not support its radical political agenda, I now need to set the record straight.

The legislation I co-sponsored does not even address the issue of Sanctuary Cities. It is an act that ensures that our Massachusetts tax dollars are devoted to protecting our communities and not to the enforcement of Federal immigration laws that fall under the sole authority of ICE(Immigration and Customs Enforcement). 

To learn more about what The Safe Communities Act does and does not do, please read below:

On January 23, 2017, the Trump administration introduced an aggressive immigration enforcement agenda that relies on the conscription of state and local law enforcement and facilities to identify and detain immigrants. This agenda is already having far-reaching consequences in our communities, and raises major public safety, public health, economic and civil rights concerns. A federal court has already ruled that such coercion is unconstitutional because-among other things-it violates the 10th amendment prohibition on commandeering state resources for federal purposes. 

It is no coincidence that The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was the first in the nation to find that state laws don't allow us to hold a person on an ICE detainer; doing so violates Massachusetts statute.

Massachusetts has often led the nation in advancing due process and civil rights. Any attempt to take away those rights and revert to a system that supports politically-motivated anti-immigrant policies would be a huge step in the wrong direction. The values that make our Commonwealth a great and welcoming place to live point us toward progress, not retreat.  

In response to President Trump's unfunded executive orders on immigration, I was pleased to co-sponsor H3269, THE SAFE COMMUNITIES ACT. This legislation if enacted, would ensure that Massachusetts tax dollars are devoted to protecting our communitiesnot enforcing federal immigration laws, which are the responsibility of Immigration and Customs enforcement (ICE). Over 400 localities, including California, Connecticut, Illinois and Rhode Island, and eight MA cities have similar policies. 

Recently, Mass Fiscal Alliance sent out post cards targeting co-sponsors of The Safe Communities Act. Those post cards are now showing up in mailboxes across the State.

You may remember MassFiscal Alliance as the Boston-based, dark money SuperPAC that sent numerous attack mailers in the last election cycles. This group targets Democrats around the state and has made distorted claims against many officials (for example, concocting a story in 2014 that legislators had voted to prioritize services for illegal immigrants over veterans [Ed. Note: such a vote is #FakeNews]) .  

The citizens of the 12th Plymouth district have always been more interested in facts, as opposed to politically motivated rhetoric. You will hear from Mass Fiscal Alliance often in the upcoming election cycle.

I ask only that you understand their political motives and research their claims.

Please compare the claims made in their recent mailings to the substantive elements of the Safe Communities Act, to which I am a co-sponsor. 

The Safe Communities Act : What it DOES & Does Not Do 

  1. It DOES prohibit the use of state databases or records for enforcement of any federal registry program based on religion or other protected characteristics. 
  2. It DOES limit state and local agencies' involvement with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by barring them from arresting or detaining a person solely for federal immigration enforcement purposes, or participating in inquiries, investigations or raids based solely on immigration status. When police become ICE agents, immigrant victims and witnesses of crime are afraid to call police, which makes us all less safe.
  3. It DOES prohibit collaboration agreements between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security(DHS) and Massachusetts law enforcement agencies that deputize state and local officers as immigration agents and co-opt state and local resources for federal purposes, but without any reimbursement of costs.
  4. It DOES ensure basic due process rights for immigrants detained in state and local and state correctional facilities, such as to be informed, in a language they understand, that they have a right to have their lawyer present for any interview by ICE agents. 

What The Safe Communities Act DOES NOT Do:

  1. It DOES NOT stop police from investigating crimes or prosecuting anyone who commits a crime. On the contrary, it encourages immigrant witnesses and victims of crime to cooperate with police investigations, and ensures that police resources are not diverted from fighting crime.
  2. It DOES NOT stop police from collaborating with federal agencies, including ICE, as part of criminal investigations, such as joint operations to stop gangs or drug traffickers. 
  3. It DOES NOT keep ICE from getting information about people who are arrested-by default, all booking information is shared with numerous federal authorities, including the FBI and ICE, as required by federal law. 
  4. It DOES NOT keep ICE from conducting investigations, raids or arrests in Massachusetts communities, or interfere with those activities. 
  5. It DOES NOT jeopardize any community's federal funding, because the bill is carefully tailored to comply with all relevant federal laws. Indeed, although the bill was drafted well before U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions defined what constitutes a "sanctuary" jurisdiction, the provisions of the bill fall squarely outside that definition.
  6. It DOES NOT declare Massachusetts as a "Sanctuary State".

While I am always willing to debate issues of public policy, we should not have to debate facts.

Mass Fiscal Alliance has no regard for the truth and is only interested in supporting its own idealogical agenda. That is the case with the mailing regarding The Safe Communities Act.

Because Massachusetts and local governments cannot afford another unfunded federal mandate, hundreds of organizations have endorsed The Safe Communities Act, including the League of Women Voters and several labor unions.  

Thank you to those who have called seeking clarification and to those who have taken the time to read this piece.If you wish to discuss this on any other policy matter, I invite you to visit my district office or call me. 



What can YOU do? 

- contact your State Rep and State Senator to say: "I support the Safe Communities Act, and (Thank You for Staying Strong/Let's Get it out of Committee) (Please Get On Board/Let's Get it Out of Committee) (I am disappointed in your position/I will remember in November)"  <<< THESE ACTIONS DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE (Mass Fiscal is counting on it--from the wrong side). 

We have scripts for YOUR legislator's position, here:


See our main SCA page:

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Unlike Mass Fiscal, we don't have massive budgets to send out mailers. But we do have awesome members who work tirelessly to develop, update, support, and create our progressive work.

Become a member, and support the politics you want to see!

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