The Massachusetts Supreme Court on Monday ruled that local and state law enforcement officers have no authority to arrest and detain a person solely on the basis of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
This is the first such ruling in a high state court, according to Massachusetts ACLU staff counsel Laura Rótolo.
“As far as we know this is the only state court that has ruled on its own state law authority,” Rótolo said.
The ruling means that undocumented immigrants arrested on local criminal charges will no longer be detained under the ICE detainer.
According to ICE website, an ICE detainer is issued on an undocumented person who has been arrested on local criminal charges when ICE believes there is probable cause to remove the person from the United States.
When ICE detainer is issued and honored, the arrested person is immediately taken by ICE authorities when released by local law enforcement officers.
“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.
From now on anyone who holds an individual on an ICE detainer would be violating the law.