It’s Official: Springfield, Massachusetts is a Sanctuary City
By Colton R. Overcash | February 7, 2019
Over the objections of its mayor, the third-largest city in Massachusetts has enacted a local ordinance to become a sanctuary city and protect illegal aliens from immigration enforcement.
On January 14, the Springfield City Council voted 10-1 to override Mayor Domenic Sarno’s (D) December 18 veto of the Welcoming Community Trust Act, which originally passed by a 10-3 vote on December 17. City Councilor Tim Allen (D-Ward 7) cast the only “no” vote on the override. Councilors Kateri Walsh (D-At Large) and Kenneth Shea (D-Ward 6) did not vote.
Mayor Sarno vetoed the Trust Act last year because he believes the measure “will create unanticipated and unbudgeted financial and legal challenges to [Springfield’s] schools, health, housing, and police departments.”
Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri also expressed skepticism of the measure, saying that “there [are] concerns regarding the release of some [illegal aliens] back into [local] neighborhoods, [including] detainees who have prior convictions for serious violent offenses.”
Councilors Adam Gomez (D-Ward 1) and Jesse Lederman (D-At Large) lauded the vote as a key accomplishment that will keep the community safe and will enhance information sharing between law enforcement and the immigrant community. However, there is zero empirical evidence to support their claim. Rather, most illegal aliens don’t cooperate with police, even in sanctuary cities.
The veto override and final passage of the Springfield ordinance assures that the city’s police officers will not inquire about anyone’s immigration status, participate in immigration enforcement activity, or honor immigration detainers. In short, the ordinance will provide vast protections to illegal aliens who live in the community, even those arrested for other crimes.
With this move, Springfield becomes the 29th municipality in Massachusetts to adopt a sanctuary policy, in addition to the 28 noted in FAIR’s 2018 sanctuary survey. It is also home to roughly 7,200 illegal aliens out of the 236,000 estimated to live in Massachusetts. In total, FAIR’s research indicates that illegal immigration costs Bay State taxpayers more than $2 billion each year.