The following piece was written by Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, and published by The Patriot Ledger on May 10, 2017.

Recently, the Trump Administration sent warning letters to officials in nine sanctuary cities across the country, cautioning that these jurisdictions may lose federal grant money unless they assist with federal immigration enforcement.

The warning letters follow a presidential campaign that targeted sanctuary cities, followed by a late January executive order threatening to strip funding from cities that decline to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

Massachusetts’ warning letters might have been lost in the mail – or maybe Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department know that we would immediately “return to sender.”

Boston is one of about a dozen cities and towns in Massachusetts that have passed policies designed to build trust between immigrant communities and the local police by limiting how we are involved in federal immigration enforcement – and we’re proud of it. In communities like Boston and others, we’re committed to sending a clear message: immigrants are welcome here and they should not fear their local government.

We believe that now, more than ever, it is crucial that we stand with our immigrant neighbors and draw a clear line between the roles of federal immigration authorities and our local agencies and officials.

When local law enforcement focuses on keeping communities safe – rather than being part of the new, over-the-top, federal immigration enforcement efforts – we help our cities and towns thrive. In fact, crime is lower and economies are stronger in sanctuary localities.

Based on a recent ruling from a federal court in California, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions cannot strip federal funding from sanctuary cities and other safe communities simply because we promote tolerance, diversity and inclusion in our city.

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