BOSTON (CBS) — Governor Charlie Baker has proposed legislation that would allow state and local police officers to hold people who have committed serious and violent crimes at the request of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.
“If you’re here illegally and you’re doing harm to your community and to this Commonwealth, we should be able to create a statute that makes it possible for us to hold you so that the feds can come pick you up and take you back, return you to your country of origin,” said Baker.
The bill was filed Tuesday, about a week after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that state court officers don’t have the authority to detain people suspected of being in the U.S. illegally on the request of the ICE if that person is not facing criminal charges.
A statement from the governor’s office explained, “in the absence of express statutory authority, state and local law enforcement officers may not honor requests from ICE to detain removable aliens.”
According to Baker, local police departments working with the ICE and detaining violent and dangerous criminals has been common practice for years in order to keep communities safe.
“This bill allows the State Police to honor specific detainers and provides local officials with the flexibility they need to set policies appropriate for their communities,” he said.
Law enforcement would be authorized, but not required to adopt such a statute. Baker argued this would let local communities decide what is best.
This applies undocumented immigrants previously convicted a felony, participation in a gang, a crimin involving domestic violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking, drug distribution , terrorism, driving under the influence, or any other serious crime.
“We want to be able to hold them for a reasonable period of time, 12 hours or so, if they are from another country and here illegally, to give the federal government the ability to come get them,” said Baker.
Following the proposal’s announcement, the ACLU released a statement saying, “Governor Baker’s proposed legislation in response to last week’s groundbreaking ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court on ICE detainers is constitutionally suspect because it attempts to authorize state and local law enforcement to detain people without due process. Last week’s Lunn decision by the Court was a major victory for the residents of Massachusetts against the Trump deportation machine. Why Governor Baker would attempt to aid President Trump is unsettling – as both a legal and political matter.”
The Governor’s office said the proposed legislation would not go against the SJC ruling by authorizing law enforcement to enforce all ICE requests and federal immigration law.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports