State Senate Bill #1305 would make our Commonwealth a Sanctuary State for undocumented immigrants. It would prohibit police officers from engaging in immigration enforcement, from sharing immigration information with Federal officials and require that our officers block Federal officials from conducting interviews with immigrant detainees.
The bill attempts to address the concerns of undocumented immigrants living in Massachusetts, who are apprehensive about their vulnerability arising from possible federal immigration action. While the horrendous state of our immigration system must be addressed, this bill compromises our homeland security.
The bill would impose a ban on state participation in any immigration enforcement run in concert with federal authorities. It would eliminate the state’s ability to participate in the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Fusion center set up following Sept. 11. These invaluable partnerships with the Federal government, have led to the interdiction of numerous terrorist acts in Massachusetts. The sharing of immigration information and the right to detain suspected terrorist and gang members on immigration violations is a pre-emptive capability that would be lost.
State law enforcement officers would face an ethical conflict if this bill were to pass stemming from their oath of office. They swear to defend both the US and State Constitution. Provisions which require our police to block interviews between federal immigration authorities and undocumented individuals would obstruct the enforcement of federal law. This interposition is unconstitutional.
The bill would grant fourth amendment protection to the undocumented, a measure that exceeds the Commonwealth’s constitutional authority. In so doing, the rights of American citizens living in the state would be infringed. This restriction, would weaken immigration enforcement efforts in Massachusetts making the state vulnerable to charges that it is violating the equal protection clause (14th Amendment) of our Constitution. All U.S. citizens are entitled to the equal protection of federal law.
The ultimate and most dangerous effect of this bill would be the creation of a safe haven for the nefarious. The bill’s protections would attract an assortment of individuals to this state, many bent on doing us harm either through terrorism or criminal activity. This bill was ill-conceived at the outset. It is a dangerous political stunt and should be rejected by our legislature and any rational American citizen. — Dennis Galvin, Concord Road
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer is a retired Major, Massachusetts State Police, and the former director of Security for the Executive Office of Transportation in Massachusetts.)