Photo: Immigrant Activists From the Valley

This photo shows people from Springfield, Northampton, and Amherst. They were arriving at the statehouse in Boston. The photo was taken on July 10. They were lobbying in favor of the Trust Act, which would help immigrants. “If it comes into law, the Trust Act would establish a limit on state participation in deportation, delineating specifically when local or state police will participate in the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” Bliss Requa-Trautz told the Valley Post. She works for the western Massachusetts chapter of Jobs With Justice www.jwj.org. “Currently on the local and state level, law enforcement is encouraged to hold immigrants in situations where any citizen would normally be released,” she said.

Alicia Morales, a resident of Springfield and immigrant from Guatemala, said fear of being targeted by police on behalf of the federal Homeland Security agency has stopped her from reporting sexual assault at work. “For months I was abused at work by my boss. He would grab me, and it would leave bruises all over my body. He would tell me, ‘Go ahead, call the police. You don’t matter. They won’t help you.’ The idea of being separated from my children if I called the police was worse than putting up with that treatment. I needed that job to feed my kids.”

A recent study published by the University of Illinois, “Insecure Communities,” found that 44 percent of immigrants reported they are less likely to contact police officers if they have been a victim of a crime for fear they or someone they know will be asked about their immigration status.

Massachusetts state representative Carl Sciortino and senator James Eldridge introduced the Trust Act to combat the devastating impacts of the so-called "Secure Communities" law. That law has resulted in a large increase in the number of deportations. Since May 2012, more than 800 immigrants have been deported from Massachusetts.

To enlarge the photo, click on it, then scroll down and click "see full size image." photo by Jobs With Justice

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