“The answer is no.” Sarno rejecting call to limit police cooperation with ICE
Want mayor to sign executive order they say will support immigrants
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has rejected a call from a group of religious and community leaders limit cooperation between the city’s police department and federal immigration officials. The advocates delivered a letter to Sarno Thursday, outlining several concerns about relations between the police and immigrants, as well as President Donald Trump’s recent executive order pertaining to “sanctuary cities.”
The group, which includes Ward 1 City Councilor Adam Gomez, Bishop Talbert Swan of the Springfield NAACP, Bishop Douglas Fisher of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, and Dr. Zubair Kareem of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, among others, asked for the mayor to issue a three-point executive order. This order would:
- Prohibit police from asking suspects or victims of crime their immigration status
- Prevent police from carrying out detainers for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) except for defendants with convictions for “serious” felonies
- Prevent the city from entering into any partnership with ICE that “‘deputizes’ local law enforcement agencies to perform immigration enforcement functions.”
The authors of the letter cited a University of Illinois study finding that most undocumented immigrants and many Latinos overall would be reluctant to call police if they had been a victim of a crime, if they feared that police would inquire into their immigration status, or that of someone they know.
“We believe that the unnecessary cooperation with federal immigration officials in the City of Springfield would lead to further unnecessary demands on an already over-extended police force, and would compromise- rather than strengthen- the City’s efforts to reducing local crime,” the letter states.
Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney told 22News that as it is, Springfield police officers do not inquire about the immigration status of suspects, witnesses, or victims.
A separate letter, sent following a vote by the Ward 6 Democratic Committee, asks Sarno to declare Springfield to be a “sanctuary city.”
Sarno, a Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, said last week that Springfield is not a sanctuary city, and he has no intention to make it one.
In response to both requests, Sarno sent letters Thursday reading “the answer is no.”
“Again, I am a firm believer in legal immigration, as my parents went through and are now American citizens too. The hey here is assistance programs must be properly run with extensive follow through efforts that will empower those in need, from legal immigrants to our own residents in need too. Important here, is that these efforts do not put unsustainable financial pressures or public safety issues on our city budget, residents, and business community,” Sarno wrote.