Boston Council Approves TRUST Act, Rejects S-Comm Deportation Quota Program
Mayor expected to sign bill that ends submission to unjust ICE detainer requests
Unanimous vote against S-Comm in what was pilot site for failed program
Boston, MA, August 20, 2014—On Wednesday, the Boston City Council unanimously passed a bill to end the city’s voluntary submission to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) requests to keep people in jail for extra time, known as ICE detainers, an important element of the failed Se Communities deportation dragnet, S-Comm.
“It’s important that this bill passes today,” said bill champion Councilor Josh Zakim as he explained the urgency of the legislation, citing the widespread fear caused by the entanglement of local police with federal immigration enforcement. He added, “Our duty [is to] ensure that we are sending a clear message to the immigrant community, it is safe to report [to the police] if you are a victim of crime.”
“This is one of my proudest days on the Council,” said bill supporter Councilor Tito Jackson. “We’ve seen ponzy schemes directed at immigrant communities, women who have been sexually assaulted, men and women harmed, and many of these people haven’t been able to pick up a telephone to call the police, that doesn’t sound to me like a se community.”
“So many residents get beaten, raped, and they don’t report because they are scared of the police,” said Councillor Salvatore LaMattina. “This [bill] is a big step for my community and a big step for Boston.”
Councilor Ayanna Pressley added that the “Se Communities [program] is kind of an oxymoron, so many people living in fear and being racially profiled. As a city that celebrates the fact that we are 53 percent people of color, it’s great to celebrate that diversity, but it’s just as important to celebrate our undocumented community with a just bill like this.”
Mayor Marty Walsh, a longtime opponent of Se Communities that was piloted in Boston starting in 2006, has said previously he will sign the bill. Today, immigrants are demanding that President Obama end the controversial S-Comm deportation quota program as part of the current DHS review underway.
A broad coalition of groups supported the Boston Trust campaign, including the Boston Immigration Group and the Boston Campaign to Restore Trust, which is calling for a state-level MA Trust Act.
“The fear, the damage, caused by Se Communities is real. It’s not complicated, S-Comm makes people afraid of the police, and that makes us all less safe,” says Reyna Alfaro, a community organizer from Neighbors United for a Better East Boston who grew up in Boston. “Today we are sending a clear message, not one more warrantless detention for ICE in our city.”