Editor’s note: Kitsap News Group intern Hannah Chisholm was in Boston, Massachusetts during a protest against a state bill that would authorize law enforcement officers in that state to detain individuals upon request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. She filed this report.
It’s 9 a.m. Aug. 9 in Boston, Massachusetts. A diverse crowd has gathered in front of the Massachusetts State House.
People of all ages and ethnicities join together as they talk about equality and the Baker Bill, legislation proposed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker that would authorize state and local law enforcement to detain individuals upon request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
At the end of the sidewalk, a Boston police officer stands, watching the rally and talking to protesters. This crowd has met here every morning this week and will continue to meet until Aug. 11. Many of them carry signs with slogans such as “United to Protect Immigrants and Refugees” or “We Say No to the Baker Bill.”
People staged around the edges of the crowd hand out fliers that talk about “driving out the Trump/Pence Regime” and that the community needs to “refuse to accept a Fascist America.”
This week-long rally started when the Massachusetts High Court ruled that local law enforcement didn’t have the authority to detain people on ICE requests. This was considered a victory among Massachusetts residents until Gov. Baker filed his bill that would authorize, but not require, local and state law enforcement officers to comply with ICE requests.
Amy Cardoso, a protester, said Massachusetts police are not ICE agents. “They should not be carrying out business like that,” she said. “That should be done on federal money, federal time and federal resources.”
Cardoso said she is a member of Woburn Welcomes, a group that “focuses on making their community more welcoming to immigrants, the LGBTQ community, Muslims and any other marginalized group.”
Another protester, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was handing out fliers to help spread the message regarding the effect of Trump administration policies on equality, and to gain support against the Baker Bill. Around noon, the rally ended and the crowd of roughly 80 to 100 people left, holding their signs and banners. But their work isn’t over. They will get up every day for the rest of the week and go to the Massachusetts State House, where they will rally for a cause that they believe in.