Massachusetts: July 2011 Archives

If you're coming to this post through listening to Nightside, tonight, and you want Secure Communities out of Boston, make sure you sign these petitions:

Sign the petition against S-Comm at
Sign the petition against S-Comm at
Jackie Mahendra at is the person who got us the press hit, and I'll be going on with Gloribell Mota the lead organizer of Neighbors United for a Better East Boston, so I'll definitely be reppin' both of them.
There's a lot happening, today, and there's a lot happening.  So much so that I don't feel like I can write about it.

First, with the help of and we will be delivering over 2000 petition signatures, the majority of which are from the Boston area, to Mayor Menino asking him to take the final steps to end S-Comm, now. Please sign both petitions, linked to above, if you haven't done so already. This comes off the heels of Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of the infamous Joe Arpaio, passing a city council resolution against S-Comm. Believe it or not, has been doing some of the best and most consistent reporting on all of this.

Also today will be a hearing on in-state tuition for undocumented youth in Massachusetts. The Student Immigrant Movement has been working hard on this for some time, and they're more organized than I've ever seen them. I hope we can get S-Comm out of Boston so we can start focusing on offense instead of defense. That's all I have time to write, right now, but if you want to follow me throughout the day @kyledeb on twitter is probably the best place to look.
The Boston Globe is really bringing the fire against the federal [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm). Following Maria Sacchetti's article highlighting the abuses of S-Comm, Adrian Walker came out with a column condemning the program, the editorial board wrote against the program, and now Lawrence Harmon has a piece against the program.

Most surprising to me was the harsh public comments Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis had for John Morton. Davis is really changing his tune on S-Comm and deserves credit for doing so. Harmon quotes Davis saying Morton was "cavalier," and "dismissive." From what I've heard from folks who've interacted with Morton, that seems pretty accurate.
Almost 500 people have signed my petition at asking Mayor Menino to end S-Comm, now, but those signatures are from all over the place. now has over 1,000 local Boston signatures asking Menino to end S-Comm, now.  He's taken some positive steps against it, and hopefully this sort of outcry will push him over the edge.  Let's help get that to 1,250 by next week.

Please sign the petition, now!
Centro Presente has been circulating an open letter to Mayor Menino thanking him for his recent steps criticizing S-Comm but asking him to take the further step of ending the program:
Centro Presente through the National Association of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) Somos/We Are Initiative is asking Boston's local NPR Affiliate, WBUR to Drop The I-Word. Here's an email I just received:

Send an email to Dave Shaw WBUR News Editor
or call the newsroom: (617) 353-0770

Dear Mr. Shaw,

My name is __________ I listen to WBUR radio and I support the SOMOS/WE ARE initiative promoted by NALACC and recognize that immigrants of today represent an invaluable asset for the wellbeing and progress of the United States of America.

PLEASE desist in the use of the word "illegal" in your reporting to describe undocumented immigrants, because only things and actions are illegal. Human beings are not. Thank you so much for your attention!

The nativists that make up the editorial board of the Boston Herald have spoken. Predictably, the shock jocks at FM 96.9 Boston Talks and AM 680 WRKO will follow. Surprisingly FOX 25 in Boston was relatively balanced, though I won't be surprised if the quote they got out of Mayor Menino gets blown out of proportion. Of course, Jessica Vaughan and Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies have also been out in full force against Menino, but I will not link to them because of their association with and refusal to stand against their founder, white supremacist John Tanton.

I'm sure this pattern gets repeated all across the U.S. on a variety of local issues. Unfortunately for those of us trying to build the pro-migrant movement at the local level these nativists echo chambers have been built up over decades, and it will take some time for us to counter them listener for listener, eyeball for eyeball. In the meantime we just have to be targetted, intentional, and efficient at what we do.
Good news for the pro-migrant movement in the Boston Globe this morning: Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has taken a firm stand against the excesses of the [In]Secure Communities program (S-Comm):

"As operated now, Secure Communities is diminishing trust, an essential part of the neighborhood fabric and a vital public safety tool,'' Menino wrote.

"Secure Communities must change substantially or be scrapped,'' he wrote.


"Boston took part in Secure Communities as a pilot project, with the understanding that only the most serious criminals would be affected and the belief that our feedback would lead to improvements in the program,'' Menino wrote in the letter. "It would be a further violation of the public trust if instead Secure Communities proves to be a knot that the federal government will not untie.''
Martine Powers and Stewart Bishop - Boston Globe (11 July 2011)
The fight is certainly not over.

While Boston is starting to feel the pressure for surrendering local police resources to enforce federal immigration law through the [In]Secure Communities program, the city is reeling from a violent 4th of July.

A dark part of me shuts out the violence around me in Boston by comparing it to my home of Guatemala City, where at least a dozen people are murdered a day. With 4 dead and 15 wounded on the 4th of July, adjusting for the differences in population, Boston came close to approaching those levels over the weekend.

Though I can't say I'm deeply involved, I have a lot of admiration for local organizers in Boston trying to prevent violence. I was particularly moved by listening to Tina Chéry of Louis D. Brown Peace Institute on Radio Boston, yesterday, who's in the video above. Her son was killed and she's honored him through almost two decades of peace activism. "Peace is possible," she said on Radio Boston, yesterday, something that speaks to me personally just as it should speak to governments engaged in endless war.

Aside from the symbolism of all this violence happening on Independence Day, there's a lot of truth that spoke to me over the weekend. Life is precious and I should feel the loss of a life on the streets of Boston as deeply as I feel the loss of a life on the streets of Guatemala. Peace is a practice and it starts in our own hearts.
Originally posted at Crooks and Liars.

[Please sign the petition, above, and ask Boston to stop allowing the federal government to turn our local police into border patrol agents.]

Boston has made one mistake too many in trying to enforce federal immigration law.

The city is currently enrolled in the federal program with the Orwellian name Secure Communities (S-Comm), which forces local police to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest. The Obama administration wants to force every local police force in the U.S. to enroll in this program by 2013, but states and localities across the nation are resisting. If migrant communities are afraid to go to their local police officers to report crimes, then all residents are less safe. Following the governors of Illinois and New York, the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, recently declined to participate in the program.

While the program is under review in Boston, the latest Boston Globe article from Maria Sacchetti makes clear that the time for Boston to terminate its S-Comm program is now. With DREAMer Lizandra DeMoura now in deportation proceedings, this program has manifestly done enough damage to our communities.

In 2006, one of the first official acts of Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis was to refuse then Gov. Mitt Romney's request to use local police forces to enforce federal immigration law. What wouldn't be made public until four years later is that while Davis was publicly decrying the involvement of local police in enforcing federal immigration law, privately, the Boston Police Department was the pilot for a program that would check the immigration status of everyone they arrested, a program which would later come to be known as S-Comm.

It's easy to understand why the federal government approached Boston about doing this. As one of the most pro-migrant major cities in the U.S., involving Boston early would blunt criticism against S-Comm later. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also promised all participants in S-Comm that the purpose of the program would be to target the worst of the worst for deportation.
Following the revelations of Maria Sacchetti's article in the Sunday Globe, columnist Adrian Walker is standing with the growing chorus of voices asking Boston to terminate it's S-Comm program now. If you haven't signed my petition, yet, please do so.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Massachusetts category from July 2011.

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