Gov. Baker stands firm against push for ‘sanctuary state’ designation

BOSTON (WHDH/AP) – With chants of “we are here to stay,” immigrants and labor leaders are marking International Workers’ Day with marches and rallies in the Boston area.

Some 200 people gathered in front of the Statehouse on Monday to call on state officials to designate Massachusetts a “sanctuary state.” That would restrict state and local law enforcement officers from cooperating with federal immigration efforts.

“We need a livable wage for all workers, as well as immigrant workers, undocumented workers, and people who work hard for their families. They shouldn’t be deported,” Fight for $15 member Darius Cephas said.

Organizers told 7News that the president’s immigration policies are causing fear among unauthorized immigrants. They also want Baker to back the push to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state.

“Immigrants are more fearful. They’re not reporting crimes, they’re not showing up to doctor visits, they’re basically in fear,” said Roxana Rivera, a member of the Service Employees International Union.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants Massachusetts to be a “welcoming state,” but believes decisions about sanctuary status should be made at the local level.

“I’ve said from the beginning of this discussion that I believe these decisions are best made at the local level and I don’t plan to change my mind,” Baker told 7News.

Democratic state Sen. Jamie Eldridge says sanctuary cities aren’t enough because workers must cross city lines to get to and from jobs. He has sponsored the bill to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state and is urging the public to put pressure on Baker to support it.

“Why shouldn’t Massachusetts cooperate with the federal government on immigration? Because right now ice agents are deporting people who haven’t broken any crimes in Massachusetts, who are just here to provide for a better life for their children,” Eldridge told 7News.

Seventy other lawmakers have signed off in support of the legislation.

Activists also planned a rally at Chelsea City Hall as part of nationwide May Day events opposing Trump’s immigration policies.

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