Vote yes on immigration-policy article

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To the Editor:

In response to the article “Is Island-wide warrant article on police policy warranted?” (March 29): The answer is yes, because the proposed warrant article will reinforce a safe community for all of us; support our immigrant population by reaffirming the cultural, spiritual, and economic value of Vineyard diversity; and appreciate current police practices, making them policy for a future we can’t ignore, confirming the importance of putting all the community behind “community” policing.

The warrant article reads: “To see if the Town will vote to request the Selectmen to authorize law enforcement and all Town officials to refrain from using Town funds and/or resources to enforce federal immigration laws, in keeping with current practices, unless presented with a criminal warrant or other evidence of probable cause as required by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

The purpose of the warrant article, as outlined by the petitioners:

  • To support current Island law enforcement practices that maintain focus on local concerns and local control, and make them official town policy. The article does not interfere in any way with enforcement of criminal laws when there is a valid warrant or probable cause.
  • To ensure that town funds and resources will be used for local needs and not for immigration-related activities that are the responsibility of the federal government.
  • To ensure that local police do not start enforcing federal law, which would be an expenditure for the town. Federal funding is not lost because of this article.
  • To maintain current high Island standards of community policing and public safety by not creating fear and distrust in our immigrant communities that result in people not seeking help and not reporting criminal behavior as victims or witnesses to crime.
  • To affirm Island values of neighborly care, and equitable, respectful treatment for all.

Lynn Ditchfield
Edgartown