Gov crit­i­cizes ICE raid

Says agency shouldn’t tar­get non­crim­i­nals

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By CHRIS VIL­LANI and O’RYAN JOHN­SON — chris.vil­lani@boston­her­ald.com

Fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties should be tar­get­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants with crim­i­nal records, Gov. Char­lie Baker said yes­ter­day af­ter raids this week swept up many who don’t have rap sheets.

“I re­ally do think the fo­cus of th­ese should be on con­victed, dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals,” Baker said. “Look, law en­force­ment re­sources are al­ways stretched. The most ef­fec­tive thing the feds and, frankly, we can do to keep our streets safe is to fo­cus on crim­i­nals.”

Fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents have de­tained 50 peo­ple across the state, 20 of whom did not have crim­i­nal records, ac­cord­ing to Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment. The so-called “Op­er­a­tion Safe City” rounded up 500 peo­ple na­tion­wide in what ICE de­scribed as “tar­geted raids in sanc­tu­ary cities” — about two-thirds of whom were wanted on crim­i­nal charges.

“Sanc­tu­ary ju­ris­dic­tions that do not honor de­tain­ers or al­low us ac­cess to jails and pris­ons are shield­ing crim­i­nal aliens from im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment and cre­at­ing a mag­net for il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion,” Thomas Ho­man, ICE’s act­ing di­rec­tor, said in a state­ment Thurs­day. “As a re­sult, ICE is forced to ded­i­cate more re­sources to con­duct at-large ar­rests in th­ese com­mu­ni­ties.”

Baker, who said he was not given a heads-up about the raids, has filed a bill in the Leg­is­la­ture to al­low state and lo­cal po­lice to work with ICE in cases where an im­mi­grant has been con­victed of a vi­o­lent crime.

“We here in Mas­sachusetts are in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing those who are here ba­si­cally play­ing by the rules, go­ing to work, go­ing to school and be­ing solid mem­bers of our com­mu­nity,” the Repub­li­can gover­nor said.

This week’s raids, like other de­ten­tions since Pres­i­dent Trump took of­fice, are a marked shift from the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which gave many non­crim­i­nal im­mi­grants stays of de­por­ta­tion and largely tar­geted vi­o­lent crim­i­nals, gang mem­bers and drug of­fend­ers.

“I have been very clear: Bos­ton po­lice will not be a part of this,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said of im­mi­gra­tion en­force­ment tar­get­ing non­crim­i­nals.

Bos­ton po­lice were in­volved in the raids “in a lim­ited ca­pac­ity,” ac­cord­ing to a depart­ment spokesman.

ICE has crit­i­cized sanc­tu­ary cities and specif­i­cally the Bay State for prac­tices it says “shield crim­i­nal aliens and cre­ate a mag­net for il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.”

“They can claim what­ever they want,” Walsh said of that state­ment. “That is just not true.”

He added: “I just hope that if there is some type of at­ten­tion be­ing given to Mas­sachusetts as far as raids, I just hope that all of the po­lice in the com­mon­wealth stay out of it as well, in­clud­ing the state po­lice.”

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