End “287(g)” – Testimony Guidelines

SUPPORT PRO-IMMIGRANT LEGISLATION – CALL FOR TESTIMONY

End Massachusetts collaboration with ICE!

Guidelines provided by MIRA‘s Legislative Director, Amy Grunder  agrunder@miracoalition.org

The Safe Communities Coalition seeks your testimony for a hearing at the State House this Monday, May 8, at 1 p.m. on a pro-immigrant bill, H.3033 (An Act Relative to Enforcing Federal Law) sponsored by Rep. Cabral. The bill will be heard by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary in Rooms A-1 and A-2 on the first floor.

This important bill would end “287(g)” collaboration agreements between Massachusetts law enforcement agencies and ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that deputize law enforcement personnel with the powers of immigration officers and turn them loose in our communities. We need to support it – and also make the case for ending all collaboration with ICE, as the Safe Communities Act would do.

We’re especially looking for testimony from community organizations, domestic violence advocates, healthcare providers, teachers, and faith groups to educate the Joint Committee about the impact that Trump’s aggressive enforcement and rhetoric are having on the ground, driving immigrants away from seeking public services and assistance, including public school, healthcare, and police assistance.

Can you provide written or oral testimony in support of this bill on Monday? SIGN UP HERE. Guidelines and instructions for your testimony are below.  Find the letter template here: Written testimony Template, H.3033

BACKGROUND

What are 287(g) agreements, and how would this bill end them?

Under these voluntary agreements, local law enforcement personnel are minimally trained in immigration law and policy and then authorized to perform a variety of federal immigration enforcement functions, including questioning people about immigration status, arresting them for immigration violations, and placing them in deportation proceedings. Bristol County’s Sheriff Hodgson has one, as does Plymouth County and the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. The city of Framingham briefly had one but canceled its agreement because of the negative impact it had on community policing.

The bill ends our state’s participation in these agreements by cutting off state funding for current and future programs. State and local governments are not paid or reimbursed by the federal government for immigration enforcement activities – in fact, federal law prohibits the use of federal funds for this program, in INA Section 287(g)(1), 8 U.S.C. Section 1357(g)(1).

GUIDELINES FOR TESTIMONY

Written testimony: can be submitted directly to the clerk at the hearing or by emailing it to all the members of the Judiciary Committee.  Please BCC or forward to: agrunder@miracoalition.org .

Begin by thanking the chairs and members of the Joint Committee and identifying yourself and your organization, and be sure to say that you’re offering testimony in support of H.3033.

Do share personal stories or knowledge highlighting the fear in immigrant communities, and how this impacts interactions with schools, clinics, police, etc, undermining public health and public safety.

Do NOT focus on people’s fear of ICE, generally – we can’t prevent ICE from operating in MA. Focus instead on people’s fears that state and local agencies are collaborating with ICE, which causes parents to pull children out of schools and day care centers, and to disenroll from programs for which they or their children are eligible.

Do state the need to end state and local collaboration with federal immigration enforcement. Note how the 287(g) program deputizes police to act as ICE agents in our communities, opening the door to racial profiling and other civil rights abuses and undermining public safety by decreasing trust in police.

Let’s not use local resources to do ICE’s job for them, on the public’s dime. The federal 287(g) program takes resources and funds away from community policing and devotes them instead to immigration enforcement, which is the federal government’s job – and makes us pay for it. Instead we need to support community policing policies that put public safety and public resources first.

When police and sheriffs become immigration agents, victims and witnesses of crime, including victims of domestic violence, do not come forward to cooperate with law enforcement. The New York Times recently reported a sharp downturn in reports of sexual assault and domestic violence among Latinos throughout the country since the presidential election, attributed to fears of deportation. Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles, Houston and Denver, say the most dangerous consequences of the Administration’s policies and rhetoric on immigration is that fewer immigrants are willing to go to the police.

AND MOST IMPORTANT:

We support this bill as a significant first step to ending all state participation in federal immigration enforcement. But we’re concerned that it doesn’t provide enough safeguards to protect and reassure immigrant residents of our state. Trump’s expansive deportation agenda demands a comprehensive response like the Safe Communities Act. The 287(g) contracts in question here are just one way that local law enforcement collaborate with ICE and under Trump, cities and towns are being pressured into assisting ever more in the deportation machine. Specifically, we would like the committee to consider adding the following protections to this bill: ensuring that local police do not question, arrest or hold people for immigration violations; ensuring that local police do not provide non-public information about people in their custody to immigration authorities; and guaranteeing basic due process for immigrants who are detained in our jails or lockups. We encourage the Joint Committee to make sure that these key provisions are added to H.3033.

DIRECTIONS TO THE HEARING: State House Rooms A-1 and A-2, on the first floor. There is no access from the front to the back of the building on the first floor. So to access from Hooker Entrance (Beacon St), turn left after security to elevator 1&2. Take elevator to second floor. Turn right out of elevator and walk to the back of the building, past Great Hall to the next bank of elevators, on your left. Take elevator to first floor, and head back toward the front of the building. Or just ask for directions to A-1.

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