BOSTON – The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has announced that they plan to end their contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a new focus.
The Sheriff’s Department now plans to invest their efforts in the rising population of women entering the Suffolk County House of Correction, as confirmed by NECN.
“We are ending our contract with ICE to reallocate our resources towards helping local women to address long-standing issues that have contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system,” said Sheriff Steven Tompkins.
“Our gender-specific programming, which is among the best in the country, allows us to address these issues, which include domestic violence, sexual exploitation and substance use disorders, to name a few.”
In response to the termination of the contract, the Boston ICE office expressed their unhappiness about ending a ‘beneficial’ relationship with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s office after more than a decade.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement and Removal Operations Boston was disappointed to learn of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department’s decision to end their longstanding, cooperative partnership agreement with our agency,” Marco D. Charles, acting field office director of Enforcement and Removal Operations at ICE Boston, said in a statement.
Following the announcement, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts issued a statement, urging ICE to release those detained so that they can reunite with their families, as reported by Mass Live.
"This decision presents an opportunity for ICE to release needlessly-detained people who want nothing more than to return to their families and to their communities."
"Given the Trump administration's xenophobic, anti-immigrant track record, it is more than understandable that any law enforcement agency would sever its relationship with ICE," the union's Executive Director Carol Rose shared in a statement.
"However, it would be a disservice to Massachusetts families if this decision resulted in the creation of new detention space or a shuffling of custodial powers that resulted in detained people lacking access to family and legal representation."
The Suffolk County Sheriff's Department now plans to focus their resources and extend their women's services programs to incarcerated women in Plymouth, Essex and Norfolk.