Medford People Power, together with the ACLU of Massachusetts, today celebrated a new Medford Police Department policy designed to build greater trust between the city and immigrants in the community.
At a press conference at Medford City Hall, the City of Medford and the Police Department yesterday evening unveiled the new policy, which explicitly lays out the Medford police’s role relative to federal immigration enforcement. Under the policy, police will not generally ask residents about their immigration status, won’t consider immigration status when a person is seeking help or filing a police report, and won’t participate in federal immigration raids if they happen in Medford.
“We are glad the Medford Police Department is clearly stating how immigrants in Medford will be treated,” said Barry Ingber, Medford People Power member. “We hope this policy will help immigrants know their rights and understand they are appreciated as an important part of the Medford community.”
“Medford is joining many other cities across the US that recognize immigrants as important members of the community and the need for law enforcement to focus on safety not deportation,” said Jean Zotter, also of Medford People Power.
Under the new policy, police will work with federal immigration enforcement agencies to investigate crimes and when there is a threat to public safety or national security.
The policy enables Medford police to focus on community safety and enforcement of criminal laws so that valuable police resources are not diverted to addressing civil immigration matters.
According to the City of Medford and community advocates, this will encourage all residents, regardless of their immigration status, to feel safe asking police for help.
“It is heartening to see Medford —whose residents come from all over the world— standing up for families, community, and equal treatment,” said Laura Rótolo, ACLU of Massachusetts Staff Counsel and Community Advocate. “As an immigrant, a mom, and a Medford resident, I am especially proud today to call this city my home.”
In response to the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrants and the subsequent fear in our communities, Medford People Power – a volunteer organization of Medford residents that is affiliated with the national ACLU – worked with Medford Mayor Stephanie Muccini-Burke, Chief of Police Leo Sacco, the Medford Human Rights Commission, the ACLU of Massachusetts, Safe Medford, and other community groups to enact the policy.