Mayor Morse Issues Executive Order on Immigration, Creates Human Rights Advisory Committee Text Size

Mayor Morse is proud to announce two steps the City will take in an effort to protect basic human rights and to improve public safety.

This afternoon, the mayor signed an executive order requiring that the Holyoke Police Department not comply with civil immigration detainers requests from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to hold individuals past the point when they would ordinarily be released. This order codifies already existing practice within the police department.

The ICE orders will still be enforced if the individual is subject to a criminal warrant or court order for their detention; if they have been convicted of a serious crime or violent felony; if they are arraigned for the crime; or if they are a current Registrant of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry.

Holyoke joins communities such as Somerville, Boston, and Northampton in codifying similar police department practices.

Additionally, the Mayor is pleased to announce the formation of an Advisory Committee to the Mayor on Human Rights. The committee will work to ensure that issues of basic human rights are brought to the foreground, especially regarding marginalized communities. The committee will then facilitate dialogue and work to resolve specific issues and complaints. Overall, the committee’s focus will be to help make Holyoke a more just, equal, and inclusive community.

What follows is a statement from Mayor Morse:

“About a month ago, I announced that my administration would be unrolling a series of initiatives to address issues of race and class in the community. And today, I’m proud to announce two of those initiatives.

“These steps reflect my administration’s continued commitment to the principles of justice, fairness, and a respect for the dignity of all persons. The executive order, through codifying existing police department practice, sends a clear message that Holyoke is a compassionate community — a place where our undocumented residents need not live in fear of being stripped from their families. And further, the order will unburden our police department from an unfunded federal mandate, and allow our officers to use time and resources on actual threats to public safety. And at a time when a polarizing debate about immigration is on the national stage, the City of Holyoke will demonstrate a sane, responsible, and humane approach to the issue — an approach that respects human beings and keeps the public safe.

“The new Advisory Committee on Human Rights is another important signal of my administration’s priorities. In too many instances, the city government’s approach to race and class issues has been reactive, rather than proactive. With the formation of this committee, my hope is that marginalized members of our community will have a constant, persistent voice in our city government. The committee will facilitate dialogue between community members of my office, and will advise me on the best way to address these concerns. If you have any interest in serving on this committee, please contact my office.

“As we move forward, I am confident that Holyoke can set an example as a community equally committed to safety and justice.” 

Posted on November 21, 2014 by