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Should Massachusetts become a sanctuary state?

A State House committee on Friday will consider the Safe Communities Act, which is sometimes referred to as the “sanctuary state” bill.

The general impact of the bill would be to limit police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. It would, among other things, bar police from asking about a person’s immigration status or arresting someone solely because of their immigration status.

It would also bar the use of state resources to create a registry for Muslims, one of President Trump’s early campaign proposals, and would prohibit police from holding immigrants solely to honor a federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.


There is no technical legal definition of a “sanctuary city” or “sanctuary state.” The idea behind such proposals is that police should not be in the job of immigration enforcement and that, if they are, it could lead to immigrants losing their trust in police and not reporting crimes.

State Senator Jamie Eldridge and State Representative Juana Matias, the bill’s co-sponsors, were expected to join immigration activists and officials from the ACLU of Massachusetts for a news conference before the 10 a.m. hearing held by the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

Here’s the text of the bill.

Maria Cramer of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from State House News Service was used in this report.