In a unanimous 3-0 vote, the Ordinance & Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Lawrence City Council approved the Lawrence Trust Act on June 23, 2015, allowing the ordinance to move to the full city council. The ordinance confirms the city police’s commitment not to treat immigrants differently because of their immigration status, and limits police's collaboration with federal immigration authorities.

“All humans have rights,” said Councilwoman Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez, who stated that she was moved by the stories she heard from immigrants at a recent event organized by the Merrimack Valley Project. City Attorney Charles Boddy testified, giving his legal support to the language of the ordinance and ensuring the committee that it simply codifies the current police department’s practice not to inquire about immigrations status when coming into contact with the public.

Councilman Modesto Maldonado, who proposed the ordinance, said that police simply don’t have the resources to do the federal government’s job.

The ordinance has strong support from a varied coalition of community groups, some of whom are shown in the photo above. Members of Centro Presente and ACT Lawrence were at the hearing, along with the ACLU and pastors from the community.

If approved, Lawrence would become the fifth city in Massachusetts to pass Trust legislation, after Somerville, Cambridge, Boston and Northampton.

A full vote is expected Tuesday, July 7th at 7:00 p.m. at Lawrence City Hall.