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ACLU Calls On Gov. Baker To End State's Partnership With ICE

In this Feb. 9, 2017, photo provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents are seen at a home in Atlanta during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives. (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)MoreCloseclosemore
In this Feb. 9, 2017, photo provided U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE agents are seen at a home in Atlanta during a targeted enforcement operation aimed at immigration fugitives. (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to end the state's participation in a partnership program with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The 287 (g) program trains local law enforcement officers on certain customs enforcement operations, which are likely to expand following President Trump's executive orders.

Carol Rose, the director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, says it's time for the state to pull out of the agreements.

"The ACLU would call on Gov. Baker and all the elected leaders to say, 'We won't participate in the 287 (g) program the way that it's now being implemented with such a broad swath,'" Rose said in an interview.

Under the program, select state and county law enforcement officers are trained to perform tasks typically carried out by immigration enforcement agents. According to the contracts with ICE, state and county staff delegated with this authority are entitled to interrogate anyone detained in their facility who the officer believes to be "an alien about his or her right to be or remain in the United States." The program also authorizes trained law enforcement officers to process immigration violations, serve warrants for arrest for immigration violations, and detain and transport arrested immigrants in the country illegally.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction, the Bristol County Sheriff's Department and the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department all currently have agreements with ICE to house detainees who are awaiting deportation proceedings.

In a statement, William Pitman, a spokesperson for Gov. Baker, said the administration believes the federal government should work toward bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform.

"While the administration has no plans at this time to alter any policies currently in place, members of the administration will continue to monitor the changes," Pitman added.

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Shannon Dooling Twitter Reporter
Shannon Dooling is a reporter representing WBUR on a team of public radio station journalists in the New England News Collaborative.

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