BOSTON (CBS) — There’s been a lot of talk about so-called “Sanctuary Cities” after Donald Trump’s immigration orders.
There has been a recent push to make Melrose a sanctuary city, where police would be barred from arresting or holding people strictly because of their immigration status. Mayor Rob Dolan sat down with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller to say he supports the principles behind that push, but not making it policy.
“Sanctuary cities–I obviously don’t put down those that are pushing that term, but it’s a political term, not an operational term,” he said.
He said the City of Melrose’s policy was the same as almost every other city’s policy–including sanctuary cities like Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston–in that a minor crime such as speeding does not lead to a check for immigration status, but more eggregious crimes like murder, rape, and gun possession, do.
“Some people think Sanctuary City is the equivalent of the old Westerns where they cross the border and anything goes. That’s not the case,” Dolan said. “However, the people on the right think that local police departments are expected to round people that might be illegal immigrants up and wait for the federal government to pick them up. Local cities and towns will not act like federal agents, because we don’t have the staffing and we don’t have the authority.”
He added that the real battle over immigration would be if the federal government sent a list of names and addresses of people they wanted rounded up.
“Not only is Melrose not going to do that, I don’t think any police department in the country’s going to do that,” he said.
Dolan has been mayor of Melrose for 15 years.
“It’s gone by quick, but it’s been exciting, it’s a great job,” Dolan told Keller. “The local level of government is still the, I believe, the true level of government that is the most accountable, and you can actually still get things done, unlike maybe in Washington.”
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.