"This is a just and humane step... the BCSO
should not be engaged in immigrant detention."
(Month 20, 2021) – United States Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth
Warren (D-MA), along with Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P.
McGovern (D-MA-02), William Keating (D-MA-09), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05),
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03) and
Jake Auchincloss (D-MA-04) released a 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
February 2021, Senator Warren led members of the delegation in 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
May 2020, shortly after the violent altercation at the jail between staff and
immigration detainees, Senators Warren and Markey, along with Representatives
Keating and Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), wrote
to Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson to express alarm about the
incident, to request that Sheriff Hodgson preserve video of the events to
facilitate an investigation, and to allow persons detained at the facility to
immediately speak with their attorneys. The four lawmakers also led the entire
Massachusetts Congressional 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.)- requesting
that the DHS Inspector General and Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
investigate the violent incident.
December 2020, after the Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
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."