Guest Op-Ed: Reject the Sanctuary State Bill (Hb 3573/Sb1401)

By John Thompson and Steve Kropper

The State Legislature’s Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security holds hearings on a “safe communities” bill (H 3573/S1401) that would forbid or severely restrict cooperation by law enforcement in this state with ICE, thereby making Massachusetts a Sanctuary State and placing all its citizens and non-criminal immigrants—legal or illegal—at unacceptable risk.

As government statistics show, criminal aliens victimize Americans on a massive scale. In 2015, the General Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that one fourth of   Federal prisons inmates were aliens while 25,000 aliens were serving sentences in state prisons for homicide. Often, criminal aliens murdered Americans while being protected by sanctuary jurisdictions. Many more will die needlessly if this bill becomes law.

The GAO also reported that nationwide from 2011 to 2018, non-citizens committed 667,000 drug offenses, 42,000 robberies, 91,000 sex crimes, 213,000 assaults, 95,000 weapons offenses, and 81,000 auto thefts. The GAO also found that the average criminal alien had been arrested seven times.

Closer to home, criminal gangs routinely rob, traffic narcotics, and perpetrate extortion in the Commonwealth. Thus, in one raid in 2016 ICE agents arrested 56 gang members in Boston, Chelsea, Everett, Lynn, Revere, and Somerville. The indictment alleged that several of those charged with five murders and of at least 14 attempted murders. Other charges included drug trafficking, racketeering, firearm violations, immigration[JT1]  offenses and identity fraud.

According to the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office, these gangs frequently use intimidation to recruit new members—typically 14 to 15 years old—in local high schools with significant populations of immigrants from Central America,

Furthermore, the Boston Police recently concluded that most of the trafficking in heroin and other drugs in Massachusetts and surrounding states was controlled by gangs of illegal immigrants and commanded from the Dominican Republic.

Given this clear and persistent threat, most Americans believe that 1) non-citizens who commit crimes should be deported, 2) our legal system adequately protects the rights of those accused of immigration offenses, and 3) ICE agents deserve support for doing a necessary, and sometimes dangerous, and job. Reflecting this belief, the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, quite reasonably, mandated the deportation of non-citizens convicted of crimes.

In reply, sanctuary advocates simply refuse to recognize threats to public safety while trying to delegitimize border security. Simultaneously, they spin a narrative of harmless “undocumented immigrants” in constant fear of deportation and hounded by vengeful ICE agents. While their compassion for the undocumented is doubtless sincere, they might just spare a small dose for the millions of their fellow Americans who are victims of immigrant crime, particularly the 25,000 who died at the hands of criminal aliens.

Many sanctuary advocates mischaracterize their acts as part of “resistance” to the Trump administration, but the sanctuary movement was flourishing long before Trump took office. Under both the Trump and Obama administrations some 90% of those deported have been convicted criminals.

Sanctuary advocates make disingenuous arguments about the negative impact of cooperation with ICE on community/ police relations. Read the “safe communities” bill. It covers only persons already in custody. 

As Sanctuary advocates frequently remind us, those in the country illegally are hesitant to contact the police. Moreover, criminal aliens prey disproportionately on immigrant communities. Therefore, the best way to protect immigrant communities (as well as the rest of us) is to remove criminals from their midst in accord with the law.

“Sanctuary policies have no impact whatsoever on relations between law enforcement and non-criminal aliens, whether or not they are in the country legally,” said John Thompson, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform (MCIR). “Their only effect is to protect those who are already in custody who should under the law be deported from deportation

For questions regarding this Press Release contact:

 John Thompson

Steve Kropper

Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform

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