The Supreme Judicial Court ruled last summer (in Lunn v. Commonwealth) that our state law does not permit officials to detain illegal immigrants solely at the request of federal immigration officials. This puts up a legal barrier to a long-running component of immigration enforcement, and may make us a defacto Sanctuary state.
It's a very controversial decision, not obvious or logical. In fact, the NY Supreme Court ruled the opposite on two recent occasions, finding that it was legal and appropriate for officers to comply with ICE detainers and warrants as a form of justifiable cooperation with a fellow law enforcement agency. This will not stop ICE. The result will be that ICE is going to have to send more deportation officers into neighborhoods and work places and courthouses to make arrests. This is exactly the kind of enforcement that is generally the most random and least likely to net the worst criminals.
ICE is probably going to start deporting people in certain situations without waiting for the state to conclude criminal proceedings. This will result in certain criminals avoiding consequences for their crime; they will simply be deported. Finally, it is likely that Mass will eventually lose access to certain types of DOJ and DHS law enforcement grants.
Law enforcement groups are demanding action from our legislature, and some have acquiesced to a terrible compromise piece of legislation that's simply a re-drafted version of the "Safe Communities bill," sponsored by Sen. Eldridge.
For all of these reasons, Representatives Lyons, Lombardo, Durant, and O'Connell filed strong legislation to fix this gap in our immigration law, and explicitly grant our state, county, and local law enforcement agencies the power to cooperate with federal authorities. They need our help. Please send a message to your legislators today, and then SHARE the link with friends so they can email as well. Thank you.