Mayor Gary Christenson of Malden, Massachusetts says his city doesn’t
need to declare itself as a “sanctuary city” because it has
always been and will always be a safe, open place for people of all cultures,
walks of life, and beliefs. While the Mayor’s declaration is meant
to be a show of good faith, it might also be a smart political move for Malden.
Mayor Christenson’s statement comes in light of President Trump’s
immigration and Muslim crackdown. The term “sanctuary city”
is any city that has openly declared it will not prosecute residents who
have violated federal immigration laws; it is also any city that does
not plan to cooperate with federal agencies that are attempting to deport
undocumented immigrations. As part of a recent Trump executive order,
any “sanctuary city” will be blocked from receiving any sort
of federal funding. With no official declaration of sanctuary coming from
Malden, federal funding should remain untouched.
It is relevant to note that Malden has the second-highest immigrant concentration
in Massachusetts. It also has an Islamic Center that also serves as a
mosque and community center. There have been expressions of concern from
Muslims and new residents in Malden regarding the uncertain times ahead.
Malden Police Takes a Stand
The same executive order that created the strict immigration ban targeted
Muslim-prominent nations also instructed city-level law enforcement officers
to essentially act as federal immigration officers when the need arises.
Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis has claimed his local-level department
would not be acting as federal immigration officers and actively seeking
out undocumented immigrants. He cited that he believed a police department
should be a safe space for anyone reporting a crime or incident, and asking
their immigration status in hopes to deport them would betray that trust,
which could potentially create a rise in unreported criminal activity.
The police chief’s refusal may also consider the fact that the federal
duties were tossed onto local enforcement agencies without any promise
of additional compensation, in ordering them to complete two jobs for
the salary of one.
Malden Immigration Lawyer Weighs In
Attorney Jamie Gorton of Law Offices of Jamie H. Gorton spoke with
Wicked Local, an online news source, about the executive order and the changes that
are already stirring up controversy coast-to-coast. He mentioned that
his law firm has already heard from clients fearful of the potentially-imminent
revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.
If DACA is taken away, immigrants who entered the country as minors could
lose work permit eligibility and get listed for deportation. Gorton also
mentioned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) appears to have lessened its investigation discretion and ramped up its
prosecutorial zealotry, seeking absolutely every undocumented immigrant
rather than prioritizing those who have been linked to serious crimes.
Would you like to know more about the statements of Mayor Christenson and
Police Chief Molis? Be sure to check out
Wicked Local’s full article, which features Attorney Gorton, by
clicking here. If you need a Malden immigration attorney so you can understand and protect
your rights as an immigrant, refugee, or resident,
schedule a consultation with our law firm today by calling