Lead Sponsors: Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Carl Sciortino
Summary: This bill seeks to improve relations between Massachusetts law enforcement and the communities they serve by limiting state efforts to enforce controversial federal immigration law. The TRUST Act is proposed legislation that will ease the unfair burden currently placed on local governments and improve public safety for everyone by establishing that Massachusetts law enforcement officials are not involved in immigration enforcement. The bill would prevent the damaging effects of the program, including broken families and communities, damaged public safety, misuse of local resources, and unequal access to justice.
Why This Matters: Last May, the federal government implemented the “Secure Communities” program statewide in Massachusetts despite the objections of immigrant rights groups, many local law enforcement officials, lawmakers and Governor Patrick. Statistics show that this program has devastating effects on our communities as it tears families apart and pits law enforcement against the individuals they serve.
Statistics show that as of December 2012, only 45.6 percent of the 768 immigrants in Massachusetts deported through the Secure Communities program since 2008 had criminal records, far below the national average of 76 percent and lower than states such as Arizona, New York, and Texas. This is a loss as a whole for Massachusetts, because it misuses local resources and detains individuals without probable cause eroding the trust between law enforcement and immigrants. Additionally, Secure Communities makes individuals less likely to report crimes such as domestic violence, theft, and assault.
What this Bill Would Do: The TRUST Act will ease the burden placed on local governments and improve public safety by:
- Providing individuals ordered released by Massachusetts judges and magistrates not to be detained for ICE in spite of the court’s release order;
- Allowing for the detainment of individuals charged with crimes; and
- Clarifying that it is not the responsibility of Massachusetts law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law, and direct Massachusetts law enforcement officers not to arrest, detain, or transport individuals for federal immigration purposes.
View the full text of the bill and track its history here.