Recently you may have heard that Beacon Hill Legislators introduced a dangerous budget amendment formerly known as the so-called “Safe” Communities Act. This amendment, thankfully was not slipped into this year’s budget, and if it was, it would have essentially made Massachusetts a Sanctuary State.

When a community or a state is considered a “Sanctuary,” it’s local law enforcement agencies are immediately impacted negatively.

What does this mean for our town, our neighborhoods, and our state if we were to be a Sanctuary? It means that no communication or cooperation can take place between local law enforcement officers when apprehending an illegal criminal alien. Police are prohibited from any communication or cooperation with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), thus not allowing the transfer of the illegal alien criminal to ICE custody for processing and deportation and even worse not obtaining critical information about the alien’s background.

Many experts have warned that this dangerous restriction provides illegal criminal aliens more rights than legal Massachusetts citizens. Criminal background checks are commonplace and applicable to every citizen stopped by police. By becoming a Sanctuary State or town, that federal background check mechanism goes away when we prohibit coordination with ICE. Criminal illegal aliens that operate in Massachusetts know and understand this loophole and often take advantage of this special status in communities that take on a Sanctuary status and where hand-tying restrictions are placed on our law enforcement agencies.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, over a nine-month period in FY2017, 142 gang members that ICE was seeking to deport were released by the local law enforcement agency instead of being transferred to ICE custody. Many of these individuals were members of the violent MS-13 gang.

Cooperating with federal authorities gives law enforcement the opportunity to run background checks on individuals. It also gives us the opportunity to reveal that an individual is here illegally in this country or obtaining employment with false identification.

The recent murder of innocent Iowa teenager Mollie Tibbetts, randomly killed by an illegal alien named Cristhian Rivera, who was employed without using the e-verify system. This is a tragic example of why law enforcement officers must have every tool available to combat violent criminals. It could very well be said that since our local and state governments will not comply with federal immigration law, nor will employers. Rivera’s employer did not verify his falsified documentation. It’s much too dangerous for us to not to comply with the laws meant to protect our borders and our citizens.

As a Stoneham Selectwoman, I have been clear in my opposition to the dangers of becoming a Sanctuary City or Town. One year ago, I testified as a local official at the State House against the so-called Safe Communities Act.

Sanctuary State status is not an immigration policy, but rather it is a restriction on law enforcement that makes it difficult for officers to do their job protecting and serving us all.

For more information about my campaign you can view my webpage at Caroline Colarusso is a candidate for State Representative in Stoneham and Winchester.