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McGovern, Members of Massachusetts Congressional Delegation Statement on Biden Administration Decision to Terminate Immigration-Detention Agreements with Bristol County Sheriff’s Office

“This is a just and humane step... the BCSO should not be engaged in immigrant detention.”

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Washington, May 20, 2021 | comments
 

WASHINGTONCongressman James P. McGovern (MA-02), Chairman of the House Rules Committee, along with United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Representatives Richard E. Neal (MA-01), William Keating (MA-09), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Jake Auchincloss (MA-04) released this joint statement on the decision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to terminate its Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) and 287(g) Memorandum of Agreement with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BSCO) in Massachusetts:

“We commend the Biden administration for its decision to formally terminate its immigration-detention agreements with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. This is a just and humane step. An investigation by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office found that the BCSO violated the civil rights of immigrants in its care and custody. These findings made clear that the BCSO should not be engaged in immigrant detention. Every person has the right to dignity, safety, and due process. This decision affirms that right, and is a victory for the detainees, families, lawyers, and advocates who have pushed for more accountability and more humane treatment by the BCSO.”

In February 2021, the delegation sent a letter to DHS and ICE asking them to terminate ICE’s contracts with the BCSO. 

Following the preliminary settlement in Savino v. Souza, the case regarding the unsafe conditions for immigration detainees at the Bristol County House of Correction, the lawmakers reiterated that request.

The Massachusetts Delegation, as well as several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus—Chairman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Representatives Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-Ill.), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.)— also sent a letter requesting that the DHS Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties investigate the violent incident.

In December 2020, after the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released a report on its thorough investigation of the BCSO’s treatment of immigration detainees, Senators Warren and Markey and Representative Keating issued a joint statement “that the Bristol County Sheriff's Office should not be engaged in immigrant detention.”

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