SOMERVILLE, Mass. (CBS/AP) — Somerville’s mayor will sign an executive order that bars city police from detaining people simply because they are suspected of living in the U.S. illegally.
Mayor Joseph Curtatone is expected to sign the order Thursday.
“Our officials will still cooperate with ICE but won’t violate the Constitution and the people who are valuable,” Curtatone said during a news conference Wednesday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports
Curtatone says city police will only hold someone for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement if the agency has a criminal warrant or if there is a “legitimate law enforcement purpose” beyond immigration status.
Curtatone says it’s the “morally responsible” thing to do and will strengthen families.
“Immigration enforcement is not only not our job but undermines communities,” Curtatone said.
The mayor says the federal Secure Communities program has been a failure because more than half of those people deported from Massachusetts in the past two years had no criminal convictions, tearing their families apart and discouraging cooperation with police and the reporting of crimes.
WBZ-TV Legal Analyst and former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says it’s a bad idea.
“If there’s a bad person, no matter what their status is, the police should not be handcuffed in dealing with them,” he said. “I believe that some of these statistics are being manipulated by advocates.”
Somerville’s actions put it ahead of the still-pending Massachusetts Trust Act which decriminalizes undocumented status state-wide.
Federal officials wouldn’t comment on Somerville’s actions, saying only that they would continue to work with law enforcement.
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