City Councilor Josh Zakim announced Friday that, working closely with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Office of New Bostonians, he has filed an ordinance that would establish a Trust Act for the City of Boston.
Zakim will present the Trust Act to the full City Council at its next meeting on Wednesday, July 9, at noon. Passed by state and local governments across the country, Trust Acts seek to improve the effectiveness of local law enforcement by strengthening its relationship with immigrant communities. When an individual is detained locally for alleged crimes, the federal Secure Communities program allows U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to request a prolonged detention – beyond what is otherwise prescribed by local law – to investigate that individual’s immigration status. Trust Acts limit the circumstances under which local law enforcement will oblige such ICE requests.
Specifically, the Boston Trust Act requires that all ICE requests be declined unless:
(1) ICE has a criminal warrant for the individual;
(2) the individual has ever been convicted of a violent crime;
(3) the individual has been convicted of a felony in the past ten years;
(4) The individual is on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry;
or (5) The individual is on the federal government’s consolidated Terrorist Watchlist.
These parameters ensure that ICE can thoroughly investigate the immigration status of individuals who pose a threat to our communities and have ample opportunity to take them into ICE custody for immigration violations. Just as importantly, the requirements remove the cloud of suspicion from non-violent immigrants and facilitate a greater spirit of cooperation and willingness to assist local law enforcement.
“Boston’s immigrant communities are a special part of our city’s vibrant culture, and we need to ensure that immigrants’ contributions are honored and their rights are respected,” said Zakim. “The Boston Trust Act will do just that, while guaranteeing that ICE will have access to truly dangerous criminals who tear at the fabric of immigrant communities from within, but sparing Boston taxpayers the unnecessary and federally-compelled costs associated with overzealous detainer requests. Mayor Walsh has been a leader on this issue and I am excited to partner with him and work towards passage of Boston’s Trust Act this summer.”