Supporters of a Senate proposal aimed at preventing local law enforcement from entering collaboration agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement appealed directly to House members Tuesday afternoon, protesting outside the House chamber and chanting about throwing unresponsive lawmakers out of office.
“We are the voters and we’ll vote you out,” a group of about 100 protesters repeated as they walked through the State House before congregating just after 1 p.m. outside the third floor House chamber. The doors to the chamber were closed, with court officers standing by, even though the House was scheduled to meet to consider an economic development bill.
In addition to highlighting primary election challenges in September, protesters loudly made several other points, call-and-response style, shouting, “Stop collaborations with ICE” and “No police inquiries about immigration.”
The Senate proposal, which was attached to the fiscal 2019 budget, is one of the many items of difference between Democrats who hold super-majorities in both the House and Senate but have been unable to agree on an annual budget.
Massachusetts is the only state without an annual budget in place. The new fiscal year began on July 1 and the state is keeping services and operations open under a $5 billion temporary budget that will run through July.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo has said there’s no consensus in the House on the immigration policy proposal and this week suggested budget conferees drop a host of policy riders from the budget in order to wrap up the $41.5 billion bill.
The protest, led by Cherish Casey and Scot Sternberg of the Essex County Community Organization, shrunk in size by 1:45 p.m., when representatives began filing into the chamber for votes, but not in intensity.
“Shame, shame, shame,” protesters shouted at representatives as they passed by.