Letters

Letters

Boston officer’s work with ICE under scrutiny

FRANCISCO KJOLSETH/THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS/FILE 2008
The original language of the Trust Act generally seeks to discourage Boston police cooperation with ICE on immigration matters.

Officer threw weight behind a system already stacked against immigrants

The odds of living a secure life are already stacked against immigrants in Boston. So it is disheartening to read that a city police officer appears to have violated Boston’s Trust Act (a city rule intended to separate Boston police practice from civil immigration actions) and acted as a deputized US Customs Enforcement agent to identify, for ICE, immigrants accused of low-level crimes in Boston (“Boston officer worked closely with ICE, e-mails show,” front page, Oct. 26). The officer’s actions undoubtedly have led to the arrest of many who have been working and supporting families in Boston for years.

As a regular observer in Boston’s immigration hearings, I witness what happens to immigrants taken into ICE custody. Despite strong community, family, and work ties, few are granted bond; most spend months in detention, miles from their families. When they finally appear in immigration court, typically in shackles and a jumpsuit, they often face the judge without benefit of legal advice.

Those with legal representation are about five times more likely to be granted relief than those without. However, immigrants have no right to a public defender in immigration court proceedings, and their funds fall far short of the thousands required to hire a lawyer. When deportation is ordered, children are left without parents, possibly for the rest of their lives.

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Boston needs more than a Trust Act. Mayor Walsh should make amends for the Boston Police Department’s breach by providing the means for all Boston immigrant respondents to have counsel. The Boston City Council, Suffolk County, the state attorney general, and the private bar should join in with additional resources for this purpose.

Anne Wheelock

Jamaica Plain

Police have sworn to protect us, and that’s at the heart of officer’s actions

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We have an ongoing debate now about being faithful to the Constitution vs. the party. I think police Sergeant Detective Gregory D. Gallagher took an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. If someone is here illegally and commits a crime, that person should be considered for deportment, and that is what US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is for. I want my family protected by those sworn to protect us.

Hopefully we will have a Democrat in the White House in 2021, but if a permissive immigration regimen prevails, it will be a short-lived change, and that would be a shame.

Mark Kelleher

West Harwich