Leaders in Northampton, Springfield join opposition to S-Comm

In July 2011, the Springfield City Council passed a resolution urging Mayor Sarno to refuse to participate in the federal S-Comm anti-immigrant dragnet, and on Sept. 1, the Northampton City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution expressing the city's desire to opt out as well. The ACLU worked with the American Friends Service Committee and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee on the campaign.

Gov. Patrick announced in June that he would not sign an agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to implement S-Comm, and Mayor Menino of Boston told ICE that the city needs answers before Boston would continue participating. The program's future remains unclear.

The ACLU of Massachusetts opposes S-Comm for three main reasons:

- S-Comm, also known as "Secure Communities," doesn't do what it says it will--in fact, it makes us less secure.

- Violent criminals already get deported. S-Comm, instead, rounds up people who haven't been convicted of any crime. It clogs jails and diverts resources from solving or stopping violent crime.

- S-Comm undermines community trust in police. When any interaction with a local police officer can get you deported, it makes witnesses and crime victims from immigrant communities afraid to come forward--and that's why many police say they oppose it.

Victory! Appeals Court unanimously affirms right to videotape police

"This is a resounding victory for the First Amendment right to openly record police officers carrying out their duties in a public place," said Sarah Wunsch, ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney. "It will be influential around the country in other cases where people have been arrested for videotaping the conduct of the police."

Read the news release | Case page

Civil rights groups file suit to shed sunlight on police surveillance operations

Monitoring of political activity has become a serious concern in light of expanded police activities and capabilities. The ACLU of Massachusetts and the National Lawyers Guild of Massachusetts have filed suit on behalf of eight Boston-area political groups and four individual activists.

ICE rescinds "Secure Communities" memoranda of understanding

"This latest power-grab by the feds shows complete disrespect for the cities and states that worked hard to negotiate agreements and those that, like Massachusetts, decided after much consideration not to sign on the dotted line. Police and communities have real, on-the-ground concerns that S-Comm makes our communities less safe. ICE has once again steamrolled over those concerns and claimed a right to rule by decree."

Read the news release