Framingham to draft 'Welcoming' ordinance to support local immigrants February 20, 2019
Jim Haddadin 617-863-7144 Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - Following in the footsteps of other cities and towns, Framingham will create a new "Welcoming Immigrants" ordinance to help local immigrants feel safe in the community.

The City Council on Tuesday voted to create a new committee to draft guidelines for how city government will interact with Framingham's immigrant population.

While details have yet to be determined, proponents of the measure say they want to build trust between immigrants and the city, and help them feel comfortable reporting crimes to police, traveling to local schools and participating in the upcoming 2020 census.

The initiative arose following a recent discussion about the census, which will establish the city's official population count, affecting the resources it receives from state and federal government.

District 7 Councilor Margareth Shepard, who sponsored a resolution proposing the task force, noted that Framingham's immigrants don't currently have guidance from the city about how it handles immigration matters. Efforts at federal immigration reform have also stalled, she wrote.

Shepard proposed creating an ad hoc committee of three city councilors and a representative of the mayor's office to write a "Welcoming Immigrants" ordinance reflecting the city's particular needs.

Councilors voted 9-0 to create the committee, and decided it should be chaired by Mayor Yvonne Spicer. Three city councilors will also sit on the group, as well as a member of the School Committee, a representative of the police department, two residents appointed by the mayor, and a member of the MetroWest League of Services.

Shepard, who was elected Nov. 7 to represent District 7 on the City Council, is believed to be the first Brazilian immigrant elected to a city council in the United States.

Shepard moved to Framingham from her native Brazil in 1992. She spoke no English and began working alongside cousins as a babysitter and house cleaner. A year later, she started her own company, Golden Cleaners, which she still runs.

Framingham has one of the largest concentrations of Brazilian immigrants of any community in the state and country, with an estimated 6,000 of the town's 68,000 residents tracing roots to the Portuguese-speaking South American country.

Other large Latino groups in Framingham include roughly 3,200 Puerto Ricans, 1,200 Dominicans, 1,100 Guatemalans and 1,000 Salvadorans. Puerto Ricans were among the first to settle in Framingham, coming as early as the 1930s. Waves of Brazilian migrants followed in the 1980s and 90s, helping to sustain the community's struggling downtown as retail activity moved to Rte. 9 and major manufacturers closed.

A number of local organizations that support immigrants in MetroWest are backing Shepard's proposal. Those who spoke in favor of the measure Tuesday included Lois Josimovich, director of development for the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers, and Volmar Scaravelli, pastor of St. Tarcisius Parish, and president of the local Brazilian American Center (BRACE).

BRACE promotes inclusion of immigrants and access to health care, mental health, education, job placement, counseling services and other measures that help immigrants meld with American society, Scaravelli said. With a new welcoming ordinance, Framingham can become a model of solidarity for other communities in MetroWest, he said.

"We believe that it would be an excellent contribution to improve our city - a city that believes in inclusion, not discrimination, and opportunities for all its population," he said.

Jim Pillsbury, a representative of the Framingham chapter of the League of Women Voters, said it's critical for the country to encourage immigrants to participate in democracy, and a clear and fair immigration policy for the community will encourage that goal.

NatalĂ­cia Tracy, executive director of the Brazilian Worker Center, said the civic health of the city depends on creating a sense of belonging for all residents, including in economic and social activities - especially in the current political moment.

"A strong and inclusive city where residents ... work well together on everyone's behalf (is) what can save us all in this troubled time," Tracy said.

Heather Panahi, chairwoman of the MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women - another backer of the proposal - said female immigrants who lack citizenship are more vulnerable to domestic abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace. Some avoid taking children to the doctor, attending school functions or walking children to school for fear of being questioned by immigration agents, she said.

"Framingham's women should not have to live in constant fear for their lives and livelihoods," she said.

The proposal also drew one detractor. Resident Joe Rizoli, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration, said those who are permitted to be in the country have nothing to fear.

Rizoli, who wore a baseball cap bearing President Donald Trump's name, also questioned Shepard's motives for sponsoring the resolution, noting that she owns a business and could potentially employ immigrants.

"What Ms. Shepard is doing is asking the city of Framingham to break federal law," he said.

In response to Margareth Shepard's initiative on a Immigrant Community Task Force, please be reminded that it is illegal to enter the United States without going through an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. The (I)mmigration and (N)aturalization (A)ct of 1965 says so.

Google the terms, INA 274 and INA 275 . The federal laws refers to those who violate the law, as aliens. When you consider that they have violated federal laws, they are criminal aliens, not immigrants or undocumented immigrants. They are law breakers. This is why they fear government. I prefer the gentler term trespassitos.

Margareth Shepard is scoffing at INA 274 (8 USC 1324: Bringing in and harboring certain aliens) . Can all of us choose what federal laws to ignore?

In reading the 14th amendment, these trespassitos may be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but they are certainly not in compliance of its laws.

When Framingham's city council announces that they are a sanctuary city, they should, in all honesty, be transparent and open about it and state clearly in a document that we in Framingham will violate federal law any time we like to violate federal law. We in Framingham welcome all criminal aliens. We wish to burden the Framingham taxpayers with all the expenses behind Plyler V Doe. This was the underlying factor behind the Fuller override. The Framingham police already have a sanctuary policy on their end. If you have an issue with our policies, could you consider moving out?

Thank you very much for your attention.

Framingham City Councilor Proposes Immigrant Community Task Force February 17, 2019
Susan Petroni 508-315-7176 Framingham Source
FRAMINGHAM - District 7 City Councilor Margareth Shepard has authored a resolution to support the immigrant community in the City of Framingham, both the "documented and undocumented" individuals.

The resolution is on the agenda for the Tuesday, Feb. 19 City Council meeting.

"It is imperative that we adopt a clear immigrant policy that can continue to build trust between immigrants, the City administration and City departments," wrote Shepard, the first Brazilian-American elected leader in Framingham.

Shepard's resolution also calls for the 11-member City Council to create a task force, whose main responsibility would be to write a "Framingham Welcoming Immigrants Ordinance."

Shepard proposes the task force be comprised of:

3 City Councilors, appointed by the Council Chair 1 member from the Mayor's office, appointed by the Mayor 1 member of the School Committee, appointed by the School Committee Chair 1 member from the Police Department, appointed by the Chief of Police 2 residents of Framingham appointed by the Mayor 1 member from MetroWest Legal Services

City Councilors received a copy of the resolution this weekend.

Shepard said the resolution and eventual ordinance is needed "to increase immigrant participation in the 2020 Census, we need to create a positive and safe environment to encourage higher rates of response to this national survey."

Shepard said the task force and ordinance is needed as the "immigrant population adds $8.5 billion to the MetroWest and Milford-area economies and fills jobs that range from entry-level service positions to highly skilled medical professionals, engineers and research scientists."

She said in the 5th Congressional District, which includes Framingham, has 165,581 immigrant residents, (who) pay $1.9 billion in taxes each year."

Shepard said that "85 percent of the businesses in Downtown Framingham are owned by immigrant entrepreneurs who greatly contribute to the city's economy."

The District 7 City Councilor said "immigrants often experience unique stresses, prejudice, and constant fear of family separation due to anti-immigration policies enforced by the federal government including deportation."

Shepard, during a radio station interview discussing the proposed resolution, said this is the first time since being elected in 2017, she has proposed an immigration-related resolution/ordinance.

Her resolution states that "many Framingham immigrant residents fear that calling 9-1-1, speaking to the police, or appearing in Framingham Court hearings will lead to separation from family members - especially their children - making these residents more vulnerable to domestic abuse, wage theft. and other crimes."

Shepard told the radio station, in Portuguese, she wants to create a "web of protection" around the immigrant community.

The City Council in Springfield, Massachusetts, recently approved a welcoming immigration ordinance, which protects undocumented immigrants in December 2018.

Shepard's proposal is for a task force to be created now, which would write a welcoming Framingham ordinance on immigrants, that the City Council would need to approve at a later date.

In February 2017, the City of Newton became the latest sanctuary city in Massachusetts.

A sanctuary city will not cooperate with federal immigration officials in detaining undocumented immigrants, unless there are extenuating circumstances like a criminal warrant.

Sanctuary Cities in Massachusetts include Boston, Newton, Lawrence, Cambridge, and Somerville.

A Sanctuary City designation, a Welcoming Immigrants ordinance, A Safe Community designation or a Freedom City initiative are all ways a municipality can show its residents they are welcome and that they should not fear their local government.

Our view: A welcome vote for immigrants March 3, 2019
Anne Brennan 508-626-3871 Metrowest Daily News
Whether it's high costs, lack of housing or just plain old crummy weather, Massachusetts has had its challenges in the U.S. population game - so much so that it has lost a single congressional representative after each of the last three Census counts. The Bay State's present roster of U.S. representatives now numbers nine, its fewest since 1803, when it went from eight to 10.

But a glimmer of good news was recently released in a report from The Boston Foundation and detailed in a Commonwealth Magazine story. It found that from 2010 to 2018, Massachusetts actually experienced a 3 percent gain in population, putting its total on the cusp of 7 million people. Its population growth is the largest of any Northeast state, the report found.

And no, it's not because women in Massachusetts are having more babies. The state's birth rate in 2015 was 52.0 per 1,000 women aged 15-44, third-lowest in the country. Only Vermont and New Hampshire were lower.

Furthermore, the state experienced a net outmigration of 126,587 U.S. residents over that period, according to the foundation. That is, 126,587 more U.S. residents left the state during the past eight years than entered it.

But that loss was more than offset by a net gain of 351,069 immigrants. And while it's no secret that newcomers to the U.S. play a key role in the state's economy - and they have for a few centuries, quite frankly - our nation's current political climate seems to suggest that some of us may be due for a gentle reminder of this fact.

That's why we're pleased to see that the Framingham City Council voted unanimously on Feb. 19 to create a "Welcoming Immigrants" ordinance to help local immigrants feel safe in the community.

The idea was inspired by District 7 Councilor Margareth Shepard, who moved to Framingham from her native Brazil nearly 30 years ago without knowing a word of English, but went on to build a successful home-cleaning and janitorial service business, Golden Cleaners.

She was part of a wave of Brazilian immigrants who arrived in the city a generation ago, helping to sustain a struggling downtown as retail activity moved almost exclusively out to Rte. 9 and several major manufacturers closed.

It's estimated that approximately 6,000 of Framingham's 68,000 residents have roots in Brazil, with several other Latino groups - Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Guatemalans and Salavadorans - all believed to boast at least 1,000 additional city residents.

So what better place for a "Welcoming Immigrants" ordinance?

In addition to the economic benefits, welcoming immigrants is key to getting an accurate Census count in 2020. This affects the resources the city receives from the state and federal governments and, at the state level, will play a role in whether Massachusetts at least retains the congressional representation it presently has.

Shepard, who was voted onto the City Council in November 2017, has pointed out that Framingham's immigrants don't currently have guidance from the city about how it handles immigration matters. That's got to be unnerving, given (again) the current political climate.

Kudos to city councilors for taking the first step to changing this.

In response "Our view: A welcome vote for immigrants", please be reminded that it is illegal to enter the United States without going through an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office. The (I)mmigration and (N)aturalization (A)ct of 1965 says so.

Google the terms, INA 274 and INA 275 . The federal laws refers to those who violate the law, as aliens. When you consider that they have violated federal laws, they are criminal aliens, not immigrants or undocumented immigrants. They are law breakers. This is why they fear government. I prefer the gentler term trespassitos.

Margareth Shepard is scoffing at INA 274 (8 USC 1324: Bringing in and harboring certain aliens) . Can all of us choose what federal laws to ignore?

In reading the 14th amendment, these trespassitos may be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, but they are certainly not in compliance of its laws.

When Framingham's city council announces that they are a sanctuary city, they should, in all honesty, be transparent and open about it and state clearly in a document that we in Framingham will violate federal law any time we like to violate federal law. We in Framingham welcome all criminal aliens. We wish to burden the Framingham taxpayers with all the expenses behind Plyler V Doe. This was the underlying factor behind the Fuller override. The Framingham police already have a sanctuary policy on their end.

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