Mass. high court ruling a victory for due process, civil rights
Eva Millona testifies in support of the Safe Communities Act.
‘Nothing in the statutes or common law’ of the state allows police or court officers to hold people on civil immigration detainers.
BOSTON, July 24, 2017 – Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that state officers – such as police, sheriffs and court officers – do not have the authority under state law to detain people on a civil immigration matter.
The case before the Court, SJC-12276, Sreynuon Lunn vs. Commonwealth, involved a man who was held on a voluntary civil detainer request from Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being arrested but then having all charges against him dismissed.
The Court found that holding someone under such circumstances constitutes an arrest under state law. No federal law gives state officers the power to make such an arrest, and based on a detailed review, the Court concluded that “nothing in the statutes or common law of Massachusetts” does, either.
“We are very pleased by the Court’s decision,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of MIRA. “It provides much-needed clarity for Massachusetts law enforcement at a time when they’re under a lot of pressure from the federal government to detain non-criminal immigrants and support deportation efforts.”
Help make college dreams a reality for Boston students!
Thousands of immigrants attend Boston’s high schools. They work hard and have big dreams, but at graduation time, many face a huge obstacle: If they’re undocumented, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid, and if they enroll in a public college in Massachusetts, many will have to pay out-of-state tuition.
Nationwide, only about 3% of undocumented students finish college, mainly because of the cost. The Unafraid Scholarship was created by a group of teachers to help students from Boston Public Schools who’ve been accepted to college but aren’t eligible for federal financial aid.
The time to act is now: Support the Safe Communities Act!
From the Boston Tea Party to the anti-slavery and marriage equality movements, Massachusetts has been a leader on civil rights. We need to show that same courage again today.
One in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant. Yet under the Trump administration, our immigrant friends, neighbors and coworkers are being demonized and targeted for mass deportation. The federal government wants state and local law enforcement to serve as “force multipliers” for its crackdown on immigrants. The Safe Communities Act would stop that from happening in our state.
The Safe Communities Act protects the civil rights, safety and well-being of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety. Sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269), it ensures that our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry.
Nearly half the Massachusetts Legislature has co-sponsored the bill, and more than 100 organizations have endorsed it so far. On June 9, 2017, hundreds of people came to show their support at a hearing by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, with testimony from elected officials, to civil rights leaders, health care providers, educators and community members.
Now we need your help to keep up the momentum!
Take action to protect immigrant rights!
- Find online "Know Your Rights" resources in English, Spanish and other languages.
- Request a "Know Your Rights" workshop in your town or region.
- Learn what public health professionals can do to protect undocumented residents and their families.
- Find out actions school officials can take to protect undocumented students.
- Report bias incidents to the Attorney General's anti-harassment hotline.
- And check out MIRA's Facebook page for local events and actions.
Decision on travel ban spares family members, students and workers
BOSTON, June 26, 2017 – The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to examine whether President Trump’s travel ban was a legitimate exercise of executive power, and in the meantime, stayed two injunctions that had blocked the implementation of the travel ban.
In a careful attempt to balance competing interests, the Court only allowed the travel ban to be applied to foreign nationals who lack “any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.”
For individuals, the Court ruled, a “close familial relationship” is required. For entities, the relationship must be “formal, documented, and formed in the ordinary course,” such as a student’s admission to a U.S. university, an offer of employment, or an invitation to give a lecture.
All other citizens of the six designated countries – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen – may be barred from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The Court also upheld a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and a reduction of the annual cap from 110,000, as former President Obama had planned, to 50,000. In fiscal 2016, the U.S. admitted 85,000 refugees.