Sanctuary Amendment Stripped Out Of Massachusetts Budget



Supporters of public safety and the rule of law have scored another remarkable victory over the open-borders crowd in liberal Massachusetts.  On July 18, after weeks of wrangling and uncertainty, the legislative conference committee negotiating the Commonwealth’s overdue final budget agreement stripped out an extreme and reckless amendment that would have made the Bay State into far more of a sanctuary state than it already is.

The House had passed its version of the budget on April 26, free of any sanctuary language.  But on May 23, the Senate passed a sanctuary amendment by Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton) that would have forbidden state and local law enforcement from asking about anyone’s immigration status, cancelled 287(g) agreements by any state or local agency other than the Department of Corrections, and could easily be read as a blanket ban on practically any information-sharing or other cooperation with federal immigration authorities.  Six Democrat Senators broke ranks with their party to join all seven of the Senate’s Republicans in voting No.  Republican Governor Charlie Baker called the Senate amendment “ridiculous and outrageous,” and promised a line-item veto if it ever reached his desk.

For roughly six weeks the six-member conference committee of both chambers met to work out a final budget agreement.  They worked past the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, which required passage of a supplemental budget to fund state government through the end of the month.  The 54-member House Progressive Caucus wrote privately to the conference committee insisting the Senate sanctuary amendment be left in.  But in the end that didn’t matter and it was dropped from the final bill: despite supporting it himself, House Ways & Means Chairman Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain) said “[w]e just did not find consensus on those provisions.”

With the contentious sanctuary amendment gone, both chambers then passed the conference committee’s final budget bill with almost astonishing ease, less than seven hours after they received it: the House by a vote of 143-6 and the Senate by 36-1.

The lone “No” vote in the Senate was Senator Eldridge, the sponsor of the sanctuary amendment, who predictably bemoaned its elimination as “inexcusable and shameful.”  The Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Coalition echoed his sentiments, saying they were “deeply disappointed” and blaming both Governor Baker and (relatively) conservative Democrats in the House.

By contrast, Representative Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), who has consistently opposed dangerous sanctuary policies, cheerfully tweeted: “Good news on the State Budget front. We finally have a budget coming to the floor today and it does not contain language making Massachusetts a sanctuary state.”

Over the past year, citizen activists in Massachusetts have achieved extraordinary results against the odds in holding back the sanctuary tide.  But they‘ll still have to remain vigilant in the future: the other side has already promised to “push forward” and not stop their efforts any time soon.

About Author

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Dave joined FAIR in 2017 after more than ten years as an Assistant State Attorney in Broward County, Florida. His prosecutorial experience covered trial litigation at the misdemeanor and felony levels, drug court and mental health court, and two years as an intake attorney in the juvenile division working closely with law enforcement. Before this, he was a legislative analyst/staff attorney with the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives, where he assisted state legislators in ensuring the effectiveness and constitutionality of legislation on a wide variety of subject matter. In both capacities, he often dealt with the interaction of state law and immigration. Dave holds BAs in History and International Relations from American University and a JD from Tulane University Law School.

4 Comments

  1. avatar
    Robert Pavlick on

    Personally, I think that MOST AMERICANS are sensible and will no longer be lead down the “garden path” by idiot Leftists, who are out to destroy America and turn us into a Third World country.

  2. avatar

    The Open Border Party is Desperate Now

    They can’t beat Trump with their corruption and lies anymore and their open border Socialist Candidates Stink to High Heavens….

    Never trust a never Trumper or other NWO open border party candidates [Reps too]….they lie to get elected.

    The NWO news kinda looks looks OK but when you dig deeper its rotten and toxic…

  3. avatar

    Don’t get too excited about this. We till have Governor “Chicken Charlie” pandering to illegals. Dozens of crooked mayors and thousands of race-baiting ‘activists.’ Not to mention Bleeding Heart idiots who still think Central America is in the grip of multiple civil wars. Churches desperate to fill their pews and collection plates. The Commonwealth is still a haven for approximately half a million illegal aliens.

    • avatar
      Diana Talmadge on

      I agree…We are as bad in Colorado..we elect politicians to be our voices, and they quickly forget that when they get to D.C. & start lining their pockets
      ..I am so disappointed in Cory Gardner!

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