Thursday, June 19, 2014
Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Answers on Immigration Detainees Policies
Caucus Concerned of Potential Impacts of ICE Policy
Boston- 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?
- Where 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?
* Below is the letter sent by the Senate Republican Caucus to Assistant Field Officer Todd Thurlow.