A group of Natick residents is urging the town to develop a sanctuary policy to help “protect our non-citizen friends and neighbors.” It sounds as though this could become an agenda item for a future Natick Select Board meeting after resident Cody Jacobs read a letter from the Natick Sanctuary Policy Coalition at the start of this week’s Board meeting during citizen speak.
The letter, signed by more than 50 residents, in part reads:
It’s no secret that immigrants are under attack in our country today. Turning on the news, we see immigrants used for political purposes, characterized incorrectly, demonized, criminalized, and scapegoated. Immigrants face all these barriers, on top of a complex legal apparatus, simply for wanting to come to this country to make a better life for themselves and their families just as many of our own ancestors did. Here in Natick, we take a different approach. We are a town that prides itself on being welcoming to everyone. We have a school system that teaches kids to respect each other and embraces the strength of our increasingly diverse student population. We have a police department that has taken on a leadership role on anti-bias training and helping people from all walks of life. And we have a Select Board that has committed to equity and inclusion as one of its core goals for our town government. That’s why it is time for Natick to join a growing list of municipalities around the Commonwealth and around the country who have committed to being an immigration sanctuary jurisdiction. Being a sanctuary town means treating everyone the same regardless of immigration status…
Other Massachusetts communities have taken steps in recent years to become sanctuary communities, though not without some opposition from those who argue this can risk public safety and cost federal tax monies.
The Natick coalition points to Acton, Concord, Maynard, and Newton as other municipalities that have become sanctuary communities. The state’s role in this issue has also been much discussed of late given high profile incidents in Martha’s Vineyard and Methuen.
In submitting its letter to the Natick Select Board, the coalition accompanied it with a handy American Civil Liberties Union model sanctuary policy document.