Nearly one in six Massachusetts residents is an immigrant and on Monday night, Springfield unanimously approved an ordinance aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants in the city.
“We do not want residents in our city to be afraid to reach out to law enforcement when they are the victim of a crime,” said City Councilor Jesse Lederman. “We don’t want them to be afraid to reach out to the department of housing and building code if they’re living in substandard conditions.”
Springfield has roughly 10,000 undocumented residents. City Councilor Adam Gomez sponsored the Welcoming Community Trust Ordinance, aimed at protecting vulnerable city residents.
“That people feel safe enough that when they want to report a crime or report something that’s going on at the school,” Gomez told 22News. “They don’t feel like city officials are overstepping their grounds and calling Immigration Enforcement. That’s unnecessary.”
The ordinance isn’t unique to Springfield. Multiple cities and towns across Massachusetts, have already passed similar laws, including Boston, Northampton, Holyoke, and even Greenfield.
“That they be able to protect them, without the fear of being deported to their country,” said Jerry Rivera of Springfield.
The proposal follows recent council actions to protect institutions and churches from being targeted for providing sanctuary; something Mayor Domenic Sarno has strongly opposed, out of fear of losing federal dollars.
A threat made by President Trump, in an attempt to crack down on “sanctuary cities.” A federal appeals court ruled the president doesn’t have the power to withhold federal funds.
Lederman told 22News the measure will need to pass two more times before it’s sent to the mayor for his signature. He added that the proposal appears to have a “veto-proof” majority.