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Sanctuary cities in Massachusetts grow in number with Newton vote

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Salem, Acton mulling measure

The Newton City Council voted overwhelmingly on February 21 to make itself a sanctuary city, in effect declaring that Newton authorities will not cooperate with federal immigration officials in detaining undocumented immigrants unless there are extenuating circumstances such as an outstanding criminal warrant.

Newton joins Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Lawrence as sanctuary cities in Massachusetts. The cities cover roughly 15 percent of the state’s population. Acton and Salem are considering similar measures.

The Newton move—technically, councilors made it a “welcoming city,” not a “sanctuary city”—came just as the Trump administration announced plans to expand the number of undocumented immigrants subject to immediate deportation.

Last month, too, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would have the federal government withhold funds from sanctuary cities. It’s unclear yet how that order or the more recent deportation expansion might affect Massachusetts.