Boston City Council approves Trust Act

Police in Boston are no longer allowed to hold suspected undocumented immigrants without a criminal warrant.

Officials on the Boston City Council have approved the Trust Act, which will limit police from being able to hold suspected undocumented immigrants without a criminal warrant. According to the Boston Herald, the Trust Act is just one of many ordinances that are being implemented nationwide in order to increase protection for immigrants.

“Mayor Walsh supports the Trust Act to uphold the rights of immigrants and to maintain public safety, family unity and due process in our city,” Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Walsh told the Herald. “With the signage of a local Trust Act, we send a clear message to the immigrant community that they have a friend and an ally in Mayor Walsh, (Police) Commissioner (William B.) Evans and the city of Boston.”

Norton added that the improved relationship between police and immigrants will hopefully lead to an increase in the reporting of crimes. Previously, it was believed that immigrants were too afraid to report crimes out of fear that they too would be deported.

The reason for the increase in such ordinances may be due to recent lawsuits in many places across the U.S. showing that cities, counties and states may be liable for violating immigrants’ constitutional rights when they are arrested without probable cause, the Herald reported.

According to the Boston Globe, the Boston Trust Act highlights a shift in the 2006 Secure Communities program. The goal of Secure Communities is to find undocumented immigrants who are guilty of crimes and deport them back to their home countries.

A total of 170 cities have adopted measures to prevent police from holding immigrants suspected of being in the U.S. without undergoing the proper process of being recognized by the federal government.

Jails in Iowa recently began denying federal requests to hold suspected undocumented immigrants without a warrant.