Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced he will oppose the so-called “Safe Communities Act” (S 1305/H 3269) that many Massachusetts political observers regard as a sanctuary state bill. Baker stated in a June 9 press release that “The safety and security of our communities is a top priority for our administration, and I oppose this bill that would prohibit law enforcement from enforcing bipartisan policies that have been in place for 10 years and prevented violent and dangerous convicted criminals from being released back onto our streets.”

If enacted, the law would bar law enforcement officers in the Bay State from honoring ICE detainer requests to hold illegal aliens, pursuant to a civil warrant issued by the feds, after they have been released from jail. The bill would only allow compliance with the detainer when accompanied by a judicial warrant. S 1305/H 3269 would also bar any sharing of information with ICE about the immigration status of detainees who have been arrested and booked.

Baker further stated, “This legislation would also prevent the Massachusetts State Police from upholding our policy to detain individuals for federal authorities that have been convicted of heinous crimes, like murder and rape, and weakens current public safety measures that are designed to keep us safer.”

The danger that Governor Baker mentions is real. There are approximately 300 to 340 sanctuary jurisdictions across the country, and their policies have been responsible for the deaths of innocent people, such as Sarah Root, Tessa Trenchant, Ali Kuehnhart, and Kate Steinle, at the hands of removable illegal aliens who served jail sentences. These innocent victims would most likely be alive today if the jurisdictions they lived in had not barred their law enforcement officers from honoring ICE detainer requests.

Baker concluded, “Our administration does not support making the Commonwealth a sanctuary state and urges the Legislature to hold this bill in committee and reconsider ways to ensure Massachusetts remains a welcoming place while maintaining public safety.”

Governor Baker’s opposition to the bill potentially signifies that he is willing to rethink his statement issued last November in the wake of the presidential election, in which he made it clear that he would fight possible federal funding cuts to sanctuary jurisdictions in Massachusetts. At the time, Baker asserted that it should be up to the cities and towns of the Bay State to decide individually if they want to implement sanctuary policies.

Baker’s strong new statement of opposition to the Massachusetts sanctuary state bill is a welcome development for those who support public safety and the rule of law. On a national scale, Baker’s stance against the sanctuary state bill is welcomed by supporters of the Constitution who are acutely aware of the fact that Congress, not the 300 sanctuary jurisdictions, has the constitutionally enumerated power to set the immigration limits for the country.