The pace of change in immigration policy over the last three years can feel staggering, even for those of us tasked with reporting and understanding those changes. So, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the most pressing immigration topics we’ll be watching in 2020, both nationally and in Massachusetts.
By Shannon Dooling
Safe Communities Act & Driver’s Licenses
The legislation would limit interaction between local police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Among other things, it ends what are known as 287g partnerships in the state, which deputize local law enforcement agents to perform some duties of a federal immigration official. It would also prohibit law enforcement and court personnel from asking a person about their immigration status.
The bill is sure to be hotly contested among state representatives and senators. Even if the Safe Communities Act were to reach Governor Charlie Baker’s desk, he’s said he’d likely veto the measure. Baker has repeatedly said he believes state officials need to collaborate with ICE in cases of violent criminals. Because of that, he does not support a so-called sanctuary state policy. Instead, he believes communities should decide their own policies at the local level.
Baker also opposes a bill before the joint committee on transportation that
would allow undocumented immigrants to secure driver’s licenses, a measure that immigrant advocates say would make all Massachusetts residents safer.
Status For Haiti, Honduras And El Salvador
There are an estimated 12,000 Temporary Protected Status holders living and working in Massachusetts. Citizens of El Salvador and Haiti make up two of the largest communities of TPS recipients in the state, followed by nearly 1,000 protected Hondurans.