New Bill Proposed in Massachusetts Offers State Protections from Federal Requests

Illegal immigration activists in Massachusetts are at it again. This time, activists are pressing lawmakers in the state to pass a bill that would limit the authority that federal laws regarding detention requests have over local and state police officers. Specifically, the bill would bar Massachusetts’ police officers from legally being allowed to arrest an undocumented person once that person has been discharged from local custody. The bill would be considered a will for undocumented immigrants in the state, especially in light of anti-immigrant policies present throughout the rest of the country.

House Bill 1228

The bill, HB 1228, is named ‘An Act to Restore Community Trust in Massachusetts Law Enforcement’. Some provisions of the bill include language specifying that:

  • No police officer could detain an individual solely on the basis of a civil immigration detainer/administrative warrant;
  • No inmate facing a civil immigration detainer could be denied bail solely based on that warrant;
  • Police officers in Massachusetts could not allow U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to use their facilities for any purposes; and
  • Police officers would be barred from informing ICE of an inmate’s release.

House Representative Evandro Carvalho, a democrat, is the sponsor of the bill. However, the bill also has more than 30 co-sponsors, and is widely supported by the legislature.

Status of HB 1228

The bill’s most recent activity is that it was heard in a joint judiciary hearing on Wednesday, September 16. The bill has yet to be voted on by either the house of the senate, and must be signed into law if it passes both chambers of congress.The bill will also likely need to pass out of a number of senate and house committees prior to being voted on.

The Benefits of the Legislation

Those who are supporting the bill believe that the legislation, if passed, could foster trust between Massachusetts’ citizens (specifically, undocumented immigrants living within the state) and law enforcement officials. Those who are in opposition of the bill believe that it disrupts the balance and cooperation between local, state, and federal governments.

If Detained, Contact an Immigration Attorney

If you have been detained, either legally or illegally, due to your status as an undocumented immigrant in America, understand that regardless of your legal status, you have inalienable rights. For an immigration attorney who will advocate for you, and can help you in obtaining your visa, green card, or building a deportation defense, call the immigration lawyers at Goldstein Immigration Lawyers Reach our Massachusetts offices now at 617-722-0005 for a consultation.