(Updated) Somerville will limit holding of immigrants, join Trust Act movement

somerville mayor joe joseph curtatone
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/METRO

Saying Somervillians know what’s best for their community, Mayor Joseph Curtatone said that the city’s police officers will no longer hold undocumented immigrants solely for the purpose of deportation. 

Curtatone made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning in front of City Hall.

The order means that police will only hold undocumented immigrants if immigration authorities have a warrant or there is a law enforcement purpose beyond immigration status.

Curtatone spoke out about the controversial federal Secure Communities program which mandates police departments provide information on arrestees to federal agencies including U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

“This program it just tears apart families who have committed no crime. It deports otherwise law-abiding individuals for offenses as small as a broken taillight,” Curtatone said. “We are not going to waste our time and resources on people who are valuable, contributing members of our community who have tried to play by the rules only to find out there’s not line to get into to become a citizen.

“We, we know what’s best for our communities. We know what demands our attention that not only is immigration enforcement not our job, but under the broken system today, it weakens and undermines the communities we have have worked so hard to build together.”

Proponents of the move said the order is the first of its kind in the state and would create better relationships between the immigrant community and police. Proponents are also pushing for Massachusetts communities to join the national Trust Act movement, which would only allow the holding of an undocumented immigrant for deportation if he or she is charged with or convicted of a serious offense.

Curtatone was pressed about the recent case of Nicolaus Guaman, an Ecuadoran immigrant living in the country illegally who was sentenced this week to jail for driving drunk, running over and killing a Milford man. Guaman had a prior record and his arrest became a focal point of the Secure Communities debate.

“To state that blindly detaining people just based on their immigration status is going to prevent that crime, or crimes like that, is not the case. What it is doing is driving a deeper divide,” Curtatone said, saying that nationally more than half of the people deported under Secure Communities had no criminal convictions.

Opponents have said that not holding undocumented immigrants creates a safe haven.

A bill to decrease the state’s participation in the controversial federal Secure Communities program is currently in the state Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking


K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.


Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.


Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.


Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.


Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…


Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.


Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.


2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…


Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.


Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.


Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.


Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.