MA Trust Act Campaign


As momentum for federal immigration reform grows, Massachusetts is set to lead the nation by advancing the TRUST act, a state bill to provide immediate relief from deportations, strengthen public safety, and set an example that propels the national conversation on immigration reform toward inclusion.  Specifically the bill sets a clear standard for local governments not to submit to burdensome requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain people for deportation who have otherwise been ordered released by the courts. 

Like Connecticut, California, and other localities who have been forced against their will into the controversial Secure Communities deportation program, Massachusetts is moving a solution forward to protect public safety and restore trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement by introducing the TRUST Act (BILL # HB1613 and S1135). More than 50% of people deported due to S-Comm in Massachusetts were people with no criminal convictions whatsoever.



{H-1613 and S-1135}

Background:  Massachusetts is not Arizona.  Nonetheless, immigration enforcement at the state level causes problems here as well.  In Massachusetts, the federal government interferes in local policing and seeks to use Massachusetts law enforcement resources for detaining and deporting people, regardless of the brutal effects on our families and communities.  Last May, the federal government activated the so-called “Secure Communities” program, over the objections of Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino, and others.  This program undermines the local work of Massachusetts police departments and drives a wedge between police officers and the constituents and communities they serve.  The results of increased civil immigration enforcement in our state are: 

  •  Broken Families: Detention and deportations by the federal government are tearing Massachusetts families and communities apart.
  • Misuse of Local Resources: The federal government has coopted local and state law enforcement agencies into doing their work for them, which diverts local resources from our own public safety priorities.
  • Damaged Public Safety: The entanglement of local police and civil immigration enforcement undermines community relations and public safety efforts, because individuals become reluctant to report crimes or serve as witnesses for fear of deportation. Collaboration between the police and the community is essential in combatting and preventing crimes.
  • Unequal Access to Justice: In Massachusetts, local and state law enforcement officers’ assistance with federal immigration enforcement has resulted in the unlawful seizure and detention of Massachusetts residents without charges or probable cause to detain them.  Submission to federal immigration detainer requests has led to many Massachusetts residents receiving unequal access to justice within the criminal justice system, unequal treatment by law enforcement officials, unfair bail forfeitures, and barriers to accessing police protection.  
  • Worst of all, non-citizens who have called the police for help have instead ended up in deportation proceedings.  

The Trust Act is proposed state legislation that will ease the unfair burden currently placed on local governments and improve public safety for everyone by establishing that Massachusetts law enforcement officials are not involved in immigration enforcement. This will promote:

ü  Family Unity

ü  Public Safety

ü  Fiscal Responsibility

ü  Equal Rights

Specifically, the bill will:

  1. Provide that individuals ordered released by Massachusetts judges and magistrates will not be detained for ICE in spite of the court’s release order.
  2. Clarify that it is not the responsibility of Massachusetts law enforcement agencies to enforce federal immigration law, and direct Massachusetts law enforcement officers not to arrest, detain, or transport individuals for federal immigration purposes.