Support the Safe Communities Act by Writing to State Legislators

First Church is a member of the Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (CISC), which is supporting efforts to pass the Safe Communities Act in the Massachusetts state legislature. Recently, opponents of the bill began a letter-writing campaign to members of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, which is considering the bill. These letters are full of misinformation. Help is needed to generate a quick (and overwhelming) response! Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) has provided talking points for letters and email. Please write to the Joint Committee today.

Names and addresses of Joint Committee members may be found here.

Introduce yourself as a voter and concerned citizen who values the role of police in protecting all state residents. Say you are writing to urge them to support the Safe Communities Act (S.1305 and H.3269) - and to correct some circulating misconceptions about the bill. Feel free to cut and paste the points below. You can also find more information here, but the main thing is for them to hear from you! Some key points to emphasize (in response to opponents' misinformation):

  1. The Safe Communities Act helps law enforcement protect our communities. It does not limit or impact the ability of police to investigate or prosecute crime, which is why it has the support of Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes. Data shows that jurisdictions with community policing policies that limit collaboration with ICE have lower rates of violent crime and property crime than jurisdictions without these policies, and that immigrants are far more law-abiding than the native-born.

  2. The Safe Communities Act does not prevent ICE from conducting immigration enforcement. That's the federal government's job, not the job of local and state government or police. Nothing in the Safe Communities Act prevents police from communicating with ICE, the FBI, or other federal agencies about anyone in police custody, consistent with federal law 8 U.S.C. s. 1373. This is a regular part of the booking practice, and the SCA does not change this.

  3. What the Safe Communities Act DOES do is make sure we're not using local resources to do ICE's job for them, on the public's dime. Instead we need to support community policing policies that put public safety and public resources first. The federal government does not reimburse local communities for detaining immigrants for civil immigration violations.

  4. Data from Houston, Texas, shows that when immigrant victims and witnesses fear police, they don't come forward to report crimes, which is why the Houston police chief has spoken out against legislation penalizing cities for good community policing policies. Undocumented immigrants may qualify for a U-visa if they're victims of a crime, but first they have to feel safe reporting the crime!

  5. The Safe Communities Act is consistent with federal law - both 8 U.S.C. s. 1373, and 8 U.S.C. 1324 (which is an inapplicable anti-smuggling statute).

  6. Threats by the federal government to "defund" sanctuary cities have no legal basis, as was demonstrated by this week's nationwide injunction by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, enjoining the federal government from acting against undefined "sanctuary jurisdictions" in violation of the 10th and 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

 

Thank you for showing solidarity and witness with the sanctuary movement!


 

 

First Church is a member of the Cambridge Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (CISC), which is supporting efforts to pass the Safe Communities Act in the Massachusetts state legislature. Recently, opponents of the bill began a letter-writing campaign...