Community update: How has ICE enforcement changed in Massachusetts?

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BOSTON, February 21, 2017 – As rumors about raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have been swirling around our communities, MIRA checked in with the local ICE office to see if there was anything they could tell us.

Their response, in short, was: “We continue to conduct targeted enforcement, like we always have. Priorities change, and we change accordingly.”

The statement about priority changes refers to the expansion of priorities contained in one of President Trump’s executive orders (EOs) issued on January 25. This EO added to the list of ICE enforcement priorities for undocumented immigrants:

  1. Those charged but not convicted of a crime;
  2. All those with outstanding removal orders; and
  3. Those presumed to have committed “acts” that could be charged as a crime – which could include acts such as crossing the border (a federal misdemeanor), driving without a license, or using a false Social Security number.

Prior to this EO, only those with convictions and those with a removal order issued after January 1, 2014, were considered priorities for deportation.

Although it is difficult to know for certain, here is MIRA’s take on what is happening locally. The local ICE office is not conducting large-scale raids like we have seen in other states. However, because of the change in priorities, they are out on the streets more than they have been in the past and are going after people they have in their system who, in the past, they had left alone.

Because of this, ICE enforcement actions are more visible in our communities, creating the impression of raids. They are also hitting social media, which is creating a greater sense of panic. While these enforcement actions are taking place across the state, we have heard of a concentration of actions in Framingham.

MIRA believes that it is more important than ever for folks to speak to an attorney, especially if they have a pending deportation order and especially if they have check-ins with ICE.

If you do not already have an attorney, you can find free legal consultations at the Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement twice a month and at the Irish International Immigrant Center. You can also find legal services across Massachusetts on MIRA’s Legal Services Resources page.

In addition, we recommend that immigrants make sure they know their legal rights in case of an encounter with ICE. “Know Your Rights” trainings are being offered across the state; you can also review the “Know Your Rights” resources posted on the MIRA website.

Please make sure not to go to a “notario” (notary public), as they are not legally authorized to practice immigration law, will not provide you with correct information, and could get you into trouble with immigration authorities. Make sure you are consulting an experienced immigration attorney or non-profit authorized to practice immigration law by the Department of Justice.