The Safe Communities Act
The Safe Communities Act is extremely important because it will reassure immigrants that they don’t need to live in a constant state of fear and reaffirm Massachusetts’ devotion to protecting civil rights.
The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy supports the Safe Communities Act because we understand how vital it is for all young people, especially young immigrants, feel safe accessing reproductive health care and support services for their families, as well as just reaching out for help when necessary.
Since the election, the Administration’s executive orders regarding immigration, have created a culture of fear among immigrants of all documentation statuses. “The Safe Communities Act asserts that Massachusetts values and protects the civil rights, safety, and well-being of all residents by drawing a clear line between immigration enforcement and public safety. It ensures that our tax dollars are not used to help the Trump administration deport immigrant families or create a Muslim registry”. The key features of the Safe Communities Act are as follows “focuses resources on local needs, not deportation, upholds constitutional rights and due process, bars State support for any Muslim registry, and strengthens our communities”. Three additional areas that the Safe Communities Act would positively influence are:
- The health of our communities. The executive orders have already prevented immigrants of all documentation statuses from seeking health care of all forms, from preventive care, like vaccinations and prenatal care, to emergency clinical care in hospitals. Immigrants would rather go without care than risk going to a healthcare facility that could potentially give their information to the ICE. Although so many healthcare organizations and facilities have come out and said that they don’t provide information to the ICE, it is hard to get that information out to these justifiably paranoid patients.
- The utilization of support systems. Immigrants have become afraid of making use of public support systems that record their information because they’re afraid it could give away their citizenship status. There has been a marked decline in people utilizing food pantries, legal counseling services, and programs such as Wic.
- The reporting of crime. Since Trump’s election, there have been numerous instances of immigrant women dropping domestic or sexual abuse cases, due to a fear of deportation as a result of their cases. Immigrants who are victims of all sorts of crime and deserve legal justice are now afraid to seek it because they don’t want to interact with local police departments.
This bill received overwhelming support at its June 9th hearing and is now awaiting action by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Juana Matias, the bill’s lead sponsors, need your legislators to sign a letter supporting the bill. The Safe Communities Coalition needs information on where your legislators stand in order to inform their grassroots mobilization. So, what can you do to help?
- Call your legislators! Beginning on July 17 through July 21, we need to flood the State House with calls! Use this link to find a script and to share the information you gather from your phone call with the Safe Communities Coalition!
- Share, share, share! Share things like this post and all the relevant information about the Safe Communities Act with others who you think are willing to call their legislators and work hard to support this bill!
About the author:
Madi Bernstein is the Social Media Intern for the Alliance this summer. She is a rising junior at Tufts University who is majoring in Community Health and minoring in Sociology.