Massachusetts high court deals blow to Trump immigration policies

The executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU, Carol Rose, praised the decision, calling it a "victory."
By Ian Marsh | Jul 28, 2017
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously Monday that state officers cannot detain a suspected illegal immigrant at the behest of federal immigration agents without a criminal warrant.

The case involved a Cambodian named Sreynuon Lunn who was arrested and held in custody because he could not afford the $1,500 bail, according to a report by the Boston Herald. When the charges were dismissed, Lunn was moved to federal immigration custody at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

"It is undisputed in this case that holding someone in circumstances like this, against his or her will, constitutes an arrest under Massachusetts law," the ruling said. "There is no Federal statute that confers on State officer the power to make this kind of an arrest."

The justices observed that state law did not provide for police officers to make arrests for civil matters or, specifically, for federal civil immigration matters.

"Today's decision is a victory for the rule of law and smart immigration and criminal justice policies, and a rejection of anti-immigrant policies that have stoked fear in communities across the country," said Attorney General Maura Healey, in a statement, as reported by the Herald.

The executive director of the Massachusetts chapter of the ACLU, Carol Rose, praised the decision, calling it a "victory."

"At a time when the Trump administration is pushing aggressive and discriminatory immigration enforcement policies, Massachusetts is leading nationwide efforts by limiting how state and local law enforcement assist with federal immigration enforcement," said Rose. "Now more than ever, we need to send a clear message that Massachusetts stands with our immigrant neighbors."

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