During the regular city council meeting, Councilor Josh Zakim proposed new amendments to strengthen Boston’s Trust Act.
The Trust Act is a citywide ordinance that prevents Boston Police from detaining immigrants on the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“It’s important to stand up for our values,” said Zakim during the meeting.
The new amendments would now prevent Boston police from sharing immigration information to ICE. Mayor Marty Walsh has gone on record saying he is in favor of the new amendments.
“Our president once again lashed out via Twitter, threatening immigrants,” Zakim said. “We can’t control the orders he’s giving to ICE or others. It just illustrates how important it is for cities like Boston to do something.”
One of the reasons Zakim wanted to strengthen the Trust Act is because of an incident in 2017 where Boston Police and ICE worked together to arrest Jose Martin Paz Flores. At the time, Flores was working for Tara Construction and broke his leg in a work injury. He was arrested by ICE after filing a workers’ compensation claim. Boston Police assisted with the arrest.
The Council originally passed the Trust Act in 2014 when Zakim joined the council.
“We are in a changed time now,” said Zakim. “Immigrants should not live in fear.”
Zakim believes it is vital that immigrants feel safe going to the police if they are victims of a crime or witness one. If they are worried they will be turned over to ICE, they will not communicate with the police, he said.
“Not being a citizen is not a crime, it’s a civil violation,” said Zakim.
Councilor Lydia Edwards applauded her colleague on his work on this issue, saying the new amendments create a balanced approach.
“Our job is not to determine who is a U.S. citizen or not,” she said.
There will be a hearing about the proposed amendments in the coming weeks.