Thursday, June 19, 2014

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Answers on Immigration Detainees Policies

In an effort to seek clarification on recent reports regarding immigration detainees being transported to Massachusetts, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Senate Minority Whip Donald Humason (R-Westfield), and Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), the Ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, have sent a letter to Todd Thurlow, Assistant Field Officer for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  inquiring about the agency’s practice.

Recent media reports have confirmed that at least six commercial, agency-owned charter flights have transported immigration detainees from the United States’ southern border to Hanscom Air Force Base and Logan International Airport.  According to these same reports, Governor Patrick was not notified of this unilateral operation.

“We are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of the policy of ICE transporting immigration detainees to Massachusetts and then transferring them to Department of Homeland Security facilities or elsewhere,” wrote Senate Republicans.

The questions posed in the letter by the caucus aim to discover if there is any validity to these recent media reports, and whether the issue demands further action.  Their questions include:

* When was the policy of transferring immigration detainees to Massachusetts by ICE instituted and who authorized this policy?

* To what extent, if any, were members of the Patrick administration briefed on this policy?

* Were are the immigration detainees currently being held?

* After being transferred to Department of Homeland Security facilities, are the immigration detainees remanded to the custody of the federal government, or are they released pending further action? If they are released, what conditions or restrictions are put on them?

The Senate Republican Caucus also points out that a May 2014 report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has found that ICE has released 36,000 convicted criminal immigration detainees into the United States in 2013 alone.

Attached below is the letter sent by the Senate Republican Caucus to Assistant Field Officer Todd Thurlow.

Senate GOP Caucus seeks answers to ICE immigration detainees policy by Troy Wall