Mayor Domenic J. Sarno states, “In discussions with my cabinet heads if the City Council passes its sanctuary city ordinance, it will create unanticipated and unbudgeted financial and legal challenges to our schools, health, housing and police departments. Recently in Forbes Magazine, it was stated that ‘All told, Americans cross-subsidize health care for unauthorized immigrants to the tune of $18.5 billion a year,’ and, ‘Federal taxpayers provided $11.2 billion in subsidized care to unauthorized immigrants in 2016’.
“Also, in speaking with Police Commissioner John Barbieri, he stated that, 'Examples of some of the types of circumstances/investigations that might result in a municipal police department inquiring as to immigration status: persons that have been convicted of serious crimes, resulting in deportation and are later discovered in Springfield, criminally organized gangs, human trafficking, drug trafficking, fraud and identity theft’.”
Commissioner Barbieri continued, “This is a very complicated issue – public safety leaders agree that there may be instances where there is a concern regarding the release of some individuals back into our neighborhoods - MA Chiefs of Police Association and MA Major Chiefs have both endorsed Governor Baker’s proposed legislation that would allow public safety to hold individuals on requested ICE detainers in cases where the detainee has prior criminal convictions for serious violent offenses. The proposed legislation would allow public safety to honor a written request from ICE to detain if the person has engaged in or is suspected of terrorism or had been convicted of a serious felony.”
Mayor Sarno added, “As a son of immigrants I’ve always been a supporter of legal immigration and a positive pathway towards citizenship. What we really need here is for our federal government officials to stop the back and forth rhetoric and leaving this federal issue on the doorstep of cash-strapped municipalities and get something done for the good of all involved. Again, as Mayor of the City of Springfield, I have a responsibility to uphold the laws that provide for the public health and safety of all of our citizens and business community.”