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Slate explains how Governor Baker is siding with Trump over the State Supreme Court on immigration

The July 2017 Lunn decision by the State Supreme Court was a major victory for the residents of Massachusetts against the Trump deportation machine. But Governor Baker’s proposed legislation in response to this groundbreaking ruling is constitutionally suspect because it attempts to authorize state and local law enforcement to detain people without due process. Slate explains:

Here’s how Baker’s bill, if passed, would play out in practice. Imagine an officer arrests two individuals on suspicion of armed robbery. Both are placed in a local jail. The officer discovers that one is a citizen while the other is undocumented. She also learns that both were convicted of selling marijuana (a “serious crime,” per the new bill) a decade ago. The officer alerts ICE, which issues a detainer. Then, she realizes she arrested the wrong two men. All charges against both men are immediately dropped.

Under Baker’s legislation, the citizen is free to go but the officer can detain the undocumented individual for at least another 12 hours. This person has not been charged with a crime—unlawful presence in the United States is a civil offense, not a criminal one—and his detention is not supported by probable cause, let alone a warrant. But because of Baker’s bill, he may remain locked up.

Baker and Polito should be honest about the goal of their bill. They do not wish to plug an ambiguity in the law; they want to make an end-run around the state’s highest court so Massachusetts can participate in Trump’s immigration crackdown. Baker can criticize Trump all he wants, but his words ring hollow when he’s acting to circumvent the courts and work with the president’s deportation force.

Continue reading in Slate.

We’ll keep fighting to keep immigrants safe. Join us in urging legislators to pass the Safe Communities Act (S.1305, H.3269), which would provide other necessary protections to immigrants in Massachusetts.

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