Statement from Rep. Pressley, Mass. Lawmakers on Biden Administration Decision to Terminate Immigration-Detention Agreements with Bristol County Sheriff's Office

May 20, 2021
Press Release
"This is a just and humane step... the BCSO should not be engaged in immigrant detention."

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), along with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and 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 the BCSO.”

In February 2021, Rep. Pressley joined members of the Massachusetts congressional 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 that request.

In March 2020, Congresswoman Pressley called on the Trump Administration take “swift and immediate action” to protect people in immigration detention centers and immigrant communities from the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2020, following a ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Rep. Pressley urged officials in the commonwealth to prioritize decarceration.

 

# # #