I’ll piggyback on TedF’s commentary below, since Ted frames the issue exactly as I would. There’s a legal issue, and a moral one, and we’ve got to find a way to reconcile the two. The more immorally the law is implemented, the stronger and somewhat messier must be the response. Sand must be put in the gears of a rapacious legal and police machine. We have resources.
First, the principles: We affirm a commitment to human dignity above all. We prefer, and demand, a society that is open and diverse. We demand that the United States be a safe harbor and refuge for those who are persecuted elsewhere — for reasons of ethnicity, religion, or political action. We value our immigrant neighbors. We live in diverse communities and wouldn’t have it any other way. This is America.
This puts us utterly at odds with the explicit racism of Trump, his administration, and indeed much of his base. Trump’s action is no surprise: His ascendency in the GOP — over people like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, say — was fueled by his unvarnished viciousness towards immigrants. That’s what the Republican Party is today: A party of xenophobia and white nationalism. #MAGA itself is a not-very-subtle statement of exclusion.
The racists are wrong and we are right. Our commitment must be that we win, and they lose.
It means that a simple respect for human rights must be the absolute baseline of any immigration policy. If we are good people, we don’t abuse others in prison. Good people don’t break up families. Good people don’t ship other people back to places where they may be murdered. Good people don’t deport children (nor adults) who have grown up in the United States and have hardly known another home.
The administration’s actions must motivate action in Massachusetts. Specifically, we need to pass the Safe Communities Act, which will prohibit local police forces from being forced to cooperate with ICE, which has become a monstrous arm of cruelty and human rights abuse.
One in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant. Yet under the Trump administration, our immigrant friends, neighbors and coworkers are being demonized and targeted for mass deportation. The federal government wants state and local law enforcement to serve as “force multipliers” for its crackdown on immigrants. The Safe Communities Act would stop that from happening in our state.
The Safe Communities Act protects the civil rights, safety and well-being of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety. Sponsored by State Sen. Jamie Eldridge (S.1305) and State Rep. Juana Matías (H.3269), it ensures that our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry.
In this we will have to confront Charlie Baker himself, who has floated a proposal to have State Police cooperate with ICE in certain cases, and whose public statements show, as usual, an insipid mildness to an ongoing affront to human decency: “I’m hoping the president doesn’t repeal the DACA program.” Not exactly Churchill, this guy.
This is it — another chapter in our Niemöller moment.