Civil rights group sues sheriff over immigration enforcement

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) – A Boston civil rights group is suing a Massachusetts sheriff’s office for its involvement in federal immigration enforcement issues.

Civil rights attorneys petitioned the state Supreme Court on Monday asking the state supreme court to overturn an agreement between the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office Joseph McDonald’s and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service.

The so-called 287 (g) agreement grants the McDonald’s office that oversees the county jail the authority to perform certain ICE duties such as the arrest, interrogation, and transportation of people suspected of violating immigration laws , so Lawyers for Civil Rights. Proofreaders also have access to ICE databases and training programs.

However, the civil rights attorneys argue that there is nothing in the constitution or state law that gives the local sheriff’s offices the power to make such agreements. It also cites a 2017 ruling by the state’s Supreme Court that local law enforcement cannot detain individuals for violating federal civil immigration alone.

Juan Cofield, president of the New England Chapter of the NAACP and one of 28 petitioners named in the lawsuit, said the ICE agreement and others who like it in Massachusetts and elsewhere sow fear in immigrant communities and deplete state resources.

“We shouldn’t be using limited government funds to enforce federal immigration regulations, especially when we need all the resources available to overcome the pandemic,” he said in a statement.

McDonald’s office declined to comment until it officially responded in court.

According to the petition, the longtime Republican office has had agreements with ICE since 2017. It was last renewed in June.

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