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Cambridge City Councillors voted unanimously Monday night to support the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts’s calls for the state to withdraw from a federal customs enforcement training program that looks to tighten immigration enforcement state-wide.
The program in question, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s 287 (g) program, may deputize state and local law enforcement officers to function as federal immigration officers. City Councillors cited President Donald Trump's anti-immigration executive orders as the main motivation for their action and criticized federal attempts to delegate immigration enforcement responsibilities to state and county law enforcement officers.
“That’s not our police force’s job to go out and enforce those regulations,” Councillor Craig A. Kelley said at the meeting.
Cambridge is one of hundreds of U.S. cities deemed a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants. Councillors took time to reaffirm the city’s “sanctuary” status and spoke in support of protecting undocumented immigrants living in the City.
“We’ve always been proud of being a sanctuary city,” Vice Mayor Marc C. McGovern said. “It’s not enough to just say we’re a sanctuary city but we have to resist and push back against the hatred that’s coming out of the White House.”
The Councillors also voted unanimously to establish the Richard C. Rossi Housing Assistance Fund in recognition of the efforts of the recently retired City Manager. In a letter to the City Council, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale applauded Rossi’s dedication “to the creation and preservation of affordable housing and improving access to affordable housing in Cambridge.” The fund received an initial deposit of $35,641.46 comprised of donations received during the fall of 2016
“This will go a long way in helping folks,” Rossi said, thanking the council and Cantabrigians for their support in providing affordable housing.
Councillors also requested that the City Ordinance Committee invite all landowners in Alewife to a hearing about the future of zoning in the area. Councillors asked the committee to go over previous changes to zoning requirements in the area and to ensure residents have a voice in further changes and development projects moving forward.
“I’ve heard from some of them they’ve not been particularly engaged," City Councillor Leland Cheung said.
Also at the meeting, the Council advocated increasing speed limit signage in the City following the recent city-wide decrease to a speed limit of 25 miles per hour.
-Staff writer Nicholas W. Sundberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NickWSundberg
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