BY AARON DENTEL-POST
Around a dozen protesters gathered on the steps of the State House on Tuesday for a rally against a bill they say would unfairly target undocumented immigrants.
Led by Somerville-based Centro Presente, the protesters spoke against Senate Bill 2061, which would facilitate a federal program led by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport undocumented criminals.
The legislation would make it more difficult for undocumented immigrants to secure public housing and eligibility for in-state tuition, as well as require an inquiry into the immigration status of Massachusetts defendants.
“The bill’s lead sponsor, Sen. Richard T. Moore, calls the bill ‘an act to enhance community safety,’ but this title hides the truth of the devastating impact SB. 2061 will have on our communities,” said Laura Marcela, Centro Presente’s youth organizer during the rally. “We’re here to show the state what justice looks like, and this is not what justice looks like for the undocumented and migrant community in this state.”
Erika Perez, an immigrant from Guatemala and Student Immigrant Movement member said she could end up being affected by the bill.
“It is so unfortunate that we’re back here again,” Perez said. “I am undocumented myself. I pay out of state. I work so hard. I pay taxes. They’re criminalizing our kids. They’re criminalizing our workers.”
“Gov. Deval Patrick, when he first got elected, said he was going to help our community,” she added. “Six years later, we don’t have anything.”
Centro Presente Executive Director Patricia Montes said the organization plans to bring hundreds to the Statehouse for a hearing on the bill Feb. 28.