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Heather Bellow
The town of Great Barrington released a resolution Monday stating that undocumented immigrants will not be targeted by police and will receive the same services as everyone else. From left, Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin, Selectboard Chair Sean Stanton, Vice Chair Steve Bannon, Dan Bailly, Ed Abrahams and Bill Cooke.

Great Barrington joins North Adams, Pittsfield in offering sanctuary to immigrants  

By Wednesday, Nov 30, 2016 News 54

sGreat Barrington — Undocumented immigrants here can rest easy: the town says its police will treat and help them exactly like everyone else.

A resolution released by Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin Monday said that like other departments across the state and in major cities across the county, the Great Barrington Police Department will “serve everyone in our community and have zero tolerance for bullying or harassment.”

Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin and the Selectboard Monday issued a resolution that protects undocumented immigrants. Photo: Heather Bellow

Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin and the Selectboard Monday issued a resolution that protects undocumented immigrants. Photo: Heather Bellow

The department, the resolution says, “does not investigate civil immigration laws, as this role falls to the federal government. All of our residents should be completely confident that their local police department is here to assist them in a crisis situation.”

The Massachusetts State Police is also committed to the same policy, according to the resolution, which was signed by members of the Selectboard.

The resolution comes on the heels of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric and a platform of targeting the country’s undocumented immigrants for deportation, reversing laws that protect undocumented immigrants who were born in the U.S., wall-building around borders, and other related policies.

Around 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S.

A number of mayors from major cities across the U.S. said their police will not work with federal authorities to round up undocumented immigrants and deport them.

If Trump is serious, however, this will be a battle since according to this National Public Radio (NPR) article, Trump says Sanctuary Cities for undocumented immigrants will lose federal funding during the first 100 days he’s in office.

But some new Sanctuary Cities, like these in Texas, for instance, say they will resist such deportations.

In Berkshire County, North Adams, Pittsfield and Great Barrington have signed Welcoming Resolutions for undocumented residents.

Three undocumented South County residents recently spoke to the Edge about their fears since Trump was elected, and the Pittsfield-based Immigrant Center is being flooded with donations and offers of help.

“We want our immigrant population to know that local police will continue to be committed to building and maintaining positive relationships within the community,” the resolution said, adding that the town “has worked hard to ensure that there are strong, positive relationships among all groups.”


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