Boston's Human Rights Commission Reactivated, With Focus on Immigrants

The Boston Human Rights Commission is being reactivated after over a decade of being dormant in an effort to support the city's immigrant communities, Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday.

Walsh had announced the move in his State of the City speech in January. The seven-member panel will be led by former State Rep. Evandro Carvalho.

"As attacks on human rights continue from the highest levels of our country, here in Boston, we're committed to preserving and advancing human rights, including in our immigrant communities," Walsh said in a statement.

The commission was originally created in 1984 to study discrimination in the city and recommend changes to the mayor. It could hold hearings and compel people to testify, as well as issue reports and investigations.

But it last met in 1996, according to the mayor's office.

Carvalho served as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County before going on to the legislature. He is an immigrant himself, born in Cabo Verde but graduating from Madison Park High in Roxbury after moving to Boston when he was 15.

"At this time in our country, I'm proud Boston has doubled down on our commitment to protect and advance the rights of all people," Carvalho said in a statement.

The move comes amid a spate of actions taken by the Trump administration to limit protections for immigrants in the United States.

On Monday, Boston immigration lawyers and advocates criticized federal immigration authorities for no longer granting special status to foreigners seeking to remain in the U.S. for medical treatment, while Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined 18 others to challenge the government on how long immigrant children can be kept in detention.

Contact Us