BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s mayor signed into law Thursday new restrictions meant to limit the participation of city police in federal immigration enforcement matters.
Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh proposed the amendments to the city’s Trust Act following revelations that Boston police have been closely coordinating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement despite the Trust Act.
The city ordinance, which Walsh signed into law in 2014, limits the role Boston officials play in enforcing the nation’s immigration laws.
Walsh said the changes, which the City Council unanimously approved last week, are meant to reassure residents that Boston police remain focused on public safety, not civil immigration enforcement.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen national rhetoric on immigration take an ugly and dangerous turn, even in an immigrant-friendly city like Boston,” he said in a statement. “We need to take a stand, and this updated version will bolster trust in our communities and protect public safety.”
Marcos Charles, who heads ICE’s Boston office, has said laws like the Trust Act make communities less safe because they are meant to prevent local police from working with ICE.
The amended ordinance specifically prohibits officers from sharing information with the division of ICE focused on civil enforcement matters.
But it makes clear the department can continue to work with the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations division on significant public safety issues, such as combating human trafficking, child exploitation, drug and weapons trafficking, and cybercrime.
It also requires the department to train officers on the new requirements.
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