Immigration detainer policy revised in Massachusetts

The administration of Massachusetts Governor and Republican Charlie Baker is revising the policies surrounding when and how individuals can be held by state police if they are wanted by federal immigration authorities. The new guidelines were announced on Thursday, replacing the policy implemented by the administration of former Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, which was much more restrictive.

State police claim that the new policy is much more in tune with the Federal Priority Enforcement Program that was instituted in the July of 2015 by President Barack Obama after much criticism of the broader nature of the Secure Communities program. At the request of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, state troopers will now be able to detain certain people who do not have any legal right to be in the United States, including individuals who may pose a risk to national security.

Baker says that the policy does not however allow troopers to stop or take into custody any individual solely because they may be suspected of being an undocumented immigrant, but that it does give policing agency professionals the tools to enable them to place gang members, suspected terrorists and other criminals in detention.

Massachusetts State Police are now allowed to take undocumented immigrants into custody for 48 hours, if their detention has been requested by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as they are believed to be in one of those high risk categories.