Whether they call themselves “sanctuary cities” or seek to protect immigrants in their communities in some other way, cities in Massachusetts may be targeted for retaliation by the Trump administration—but such retaliation will likely be unconstitutional.

President Trump's recent executive order threatens to deny federal funding to such cities and to publicize a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants in jurisdictions that don’t fully collaborate with deportation efforts.

This kind of coercion runs afoul of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits forcing localities to use their resources to enforce federal programs.

The Massachusetts cities and towns that have passed “Trust Acts” are wholly within their legal rights to do so, and the ACLU of Massachusetts stands ready to defend those rights.

The ACLU of Massachusetts also strongly supports recently filed state legislation called the The Safe Communities Act, which would set statewide limits on collaboration with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and provide other needed protections to immigrants in the Commonwealth.

We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with leaders such as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, and Attorney General Maura Healey in their strong repudiation of this executive order, and their pledge to protect all people in the Commonwealth, regardless of immigration status.

 

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