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As counties’ contracts with ICE dwindle, lawmakers’ bills try to clarify relationship

The selection of counties in the Bay State that have contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement has dwindled to one this yr — and the sheriff wishes to maintain it as legislators on Beacon Hill grapple with how ideal to address the romantic relationship concerning legislation enforcement and ICE.

“I never want to be the one particular who releases just one of these men and women who are listed here illegally back into the community and then have them commit a extra severe crime,” said Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings, who presides above the sole county with a deal with ICE nevertheless in location.

Cummings even further elaborated on the partnership concerning his division and ICE, an agreement known as 287(g) — one particular of only two in all of New England. The Massachusetts Point out Division of Corrections also has its very own agreement in location.

He reported his division is not choosing suspected undocumented immigrants off the avenue. Rather, the particular person has to previously be arrested by area or state law enforcement. When they occur from the court docket and are held without bail, the scheduling sheet asks detainees wherever they were born. If it is not the U.S., they’re operate by a laptop method to decide their immigration status. Cummings estimates that about a dozen people for each month are overseas-born, and only two of people are in the region illegally.

Of those folks, whom he said occur from all more than the globe, some have overstayed a visa, even though other individuals have crossed the border illegally. Numerous have been deported just before and are back again in the state all over again. The county has the correct to keep these men and women until finally ICE picks them up.

Although he stated he’s faced tension from immigrant rights groups and point out Rep. Antonio Cabral to conclude the system, Cummings argued that it is actually maintaining the immigrant group in Barnstable County safer.

“Most of the crimes that we offer with are assault and battery on a household member, meaning in most circumstances, the victim of their crimes … is in point the immigrant group,” he explained. “We’re actually generating it safer for them.”

Daniel Pereira, communications director of Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition, disagrees with that assessment, arguing that these agreements make a “chilling influence,” he reported, the place immigrants “feel they just cannot go to legislation enforcement to deal with with the crimes they are victims of” over fears of getting deported.

ICE did not return a request for comment for this story by deadline.

Aside from Plymouth County, which ended its deal previous thirty day period, Bristol County was the most recent one particular to minimize ties with ICE — nevertheless not voluntarily. The Lawyer General’s office environment located that detainees’ civil legal rights were being violated at the facility following the sheriff’s business office applied abnormal power, like pepper spray and canines in opposition to them, which in the long run factored into the terminated agreement by ICE.

Hodgson defended the previous program, arguing that ICE is “not in our neighborhoods every single working day, they are not in our communities. They really don’t know the nuances, or the players or the gang leaders and these other folks, because they are not dealing with them just about every working day. We are,” he claimed. He added that he’s now observed an uptick in drug overdoses from fentanyl because the plan finished in May possibly.

Legislators are taking sides on the challenge. Point out Rep. Brad Jones, R-North Reading, submitted a monthly bill that would permit these collaborations, but clarified in an emailed statement that the invoice would only make it possible for 12-hour detentions for public basic safety threats including terrorism, gang activity, murder, rape, domestic violence and drug trafficking.”

Meanwhile, point out Rep. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, and Rep. Michael Working day, D-Stoneham, submitted a invoice that would protect RMV facts from being used for immigration enforcement, and would call for informed consent for immigration enforcement-linked questioning.

Decker mentioned she filed the monthly bill in the course of the Trump administration, “when it was apparent below Donald Trump’s presidency that due system and quite a few other democratic concepts and entry to justice difficulties ended up being tossed aside” in favor of a challenging on immigration stance, she mentioned.

“This is about expressing all people justifies thanks system,” Decker included. “That is the absolute basis of a democracy.”