Photo Credit: Jason Scally
MBA President Jeffrey N. Catalano introduces the immigration resolution at the HOD meeting on Jan. 26.
The Massachusetts Bar Association confirmed its unequivocal
support for the protection of rights for documented and
undocumented immigrants in a resolution adopted Jan. 26. The MBA's
governing body, the House of Delegates, voted overwhelmingly in
favor of the resolution, which takes a firm stand in support of due
process and legal representation for immigrants in deportation and
detention proceedings. The resolution also reaffirms the MBA's
support for sanctuary city protections afforded by municipalities
As the largest voluntary statewide bar association in
Massachusetts, the MBA is a nonpolitical, nonpartisan organization
that serves the legal profession throughout the commonwealth. The
MBA believes that open access to the courts remains available to
"all subjects of the Commonwealth," as stated by Article 11 under
the Massachusetts Constitution's Bill of Rights.
This resolution furthers the MBA's longstanding commitment to
ensure equal justice for all in light of potential changes to
federal immigration policies. It also enables the MBA to work with
members of the legal community and government officials on efforts
that increase access to justice and protect immigrants and other
vulnerable individuals in our communities.
"The MBA is looked to for leadership at a time when major steps
are being taken by the federal government to detain or deport many
people in this commonwealth and nationally, which will impact their
due process rights and need for legal representation," said
Massachusetts Bar Association President Jeffrey N. Catalano. "We
are proud to take on this important responsibility."
Affinity bar stand with the MBA
The MBA resolution received praised from members of the legal
community around the commonwealth. Several affinity bar association
leaders in attendance at the January HOD meeting also expressed
their strong support for the MBA resolution.
Eugene H. Ho, president of the Asian American Lawyers
Association of Massachusetts (AALAM), said: "AALAM is proud to
stand with the MBA and the other affinity bars on this important
resolution. As a voice for our members, many of whom are first and
second generation immigrants, and in light of President Trump's
recent executive order halting immigration from seven
Muslim-majority countries, it is more important now than ever that
we reaffirm our commitment to vigorously defend the rule of law and
fundamental constitutional protections related to the detention and
deportation of residents of Massachusetts, and endorse actions by
the federal government that ensure equal justice and due process in
enforcement of any immigration policies and legislation. We thank
the MBA for its leadership in passing this resolution, and we are
committed to working with the MBA and the other affinity bars to
ensure that all immigrants have access to justice."
Migdalia Iris Nalls, the president of the Massachusetts
Association of Hispanic Attorneys (MAHA), said: "The Immigration
Resolution adopted by the MBA speaks volumes at a critical time in
history, where we are witnessing our Constitutional Due process
rights and Human rights under attack by Federal Executive orders.
Within MAHA, we see first-hand the terrible consequences of the
violations of these rights. Immigrants are already halted from
traveling to see their families abroad and living in fear of work
availability and family separation; causing stress and trauma to
their families and children. This is morally unacceptable in our
society and we deeply thank the MBA for taking action to support a
state and country made of immigrants."
Saraa Basaria, president of the South Asian Bar Association of
Greater Boston, said: "The South Asian Bar Association of Greater
Boston (SABA GB), comprised of many first-generation Americans,
strongly supports the MBA Resolution regarding prohibition of
discriminatory immigration enforcement policies and is committed to
championing lawful immigration policies that align with and respect
the principles upon which this nation was founded."