Call to Action- Barnstable Sheriff Community Meeting re: partnership with ICE

Please join us at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s community meeting regarding the department’s partnership with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Wednesday February 13, at 3pm, 239 Main St. in Buzzards Bay (map).

The information and propaganda surrounding the Barnstable County Sheriff’s signing onto the to the federal program, 287g – essentially becoming an arm of ICE – has been confusing and often misleading. We support the Safe Communities Act, which also is subject to similar propaganda.  Our concerns include the fear immigrants, even those here legally, have that prevent them from reporting or acting as witnesses to crimes – including crimes of domestic violence, abuse,  sex-trafficking and labor trafficking. Those concerns are now real here in our own Cape Cod communities. Please consider attending this meeting and listening, or even speaking out.

From a Cape Cod Times story about this meeting:

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office has scheduled a community meeting to review its partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as legislation is reintroduced on Beacon Hill to make the programs illegal in Massachusetts.

The 287(g) Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center at 239 Main St. in Buzzards Bay. The sheriff’s office was approved to participate in the ICE 287(g) program in late 2017, making it a delegated immigration enforcement authority on Cape Cod.

The program authorizes officers to be deputized to enforce selected immigration laws and search ICE databases to determine if prisoners being held at the county correctional facility are in the U.S. illegally and should be detained.  According to the sheriff’s office website, 79 inmates were referred to ICE in 2018, the first full year of the partnership.

The public will be able to offer comments and ask questions to a panel of law enforcement officers at the meeting, according to Cummings.

In addition to Cummings, panel members from the sheriff’s office will include Assistant Superintendent Robert Ahonen and Sgt. Corey Cameron, one of the department’s officers who have completed an ICE training program. Todd Lyons, acting field officer for ICE in Boston, and Officer Claudia English, an ICE detention and deportation supervisor, also will participate on the panel.

WHY THIS COMMUNITY MEETING IS SO IMPORTANT

Information, concerns and reasons to attend this meeting, from our sisters and brothers at the Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities:

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) has posted notice of a 287g Steering Committee meeting to take place 3pm Wednesday, Feb.13th at the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center, 239 Main Street in Buzzards Bay.

Steering Committee meetings are described as community outreach in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the standard document which spells out all terms of the 287g program.  The public will be allowed to ask questions and make comments on Feb.13th, according to the BCSO.

At the meeting, we expect to hear all about the successes of the program and how it serves public safety, but we’re interested in knowing more… not just that 79 inmates were ‘referred’ to ICE in 2018, as the BCSO cites. We’d like to look through the advertising slogans and scare tactics that surround this program and see it for what it is.

You might have questions or concerns about this new partnership with ICE. We’ve got plenty.

For example, the MOA stipulates that “the BCSO is expected to prosecute to completion all criminal charges that caused the alien to be taken into custody… ICE will assume custody for an alien only after said individual has been released from BCSO custody.”  So then where exactly is the public safety benefit?  If an inmate is convicted, they must serve their criminal sentence, meaning they’re already safely off the streets.

You might think, from what’s been reported in some of the newspapers, that all the 287g is about is checking ICE databases. Not true. As named under Authorized Functions in the MOA, the powers granted under this program are far more significant, and include broad authority to investigate, process, and prosecute cases for ICE. Sure saves ICE a lot of time and legwork.

But if BCSO was able to ‘refer’ at least 23 of the 79 cases to ICE in 2018 before the 287g went into effect, why did our sheriff volunteer to sign on? 

How many man-hours are being devoted to it?  We are paying for it, don’t forget.

Since one of the important criticisms of the 287g program is lack of transparency, it will be important to attend this meeting – so come, question, and critically evaluate what’s presented.  We’re hoping a good turnout will demonstrate the full extent of the public’s interest in the truth here.  Please watch for any updates about this meeting on the sheriff’s website.

Thank you to the Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities for their dedication to these important issues.

 

Immigrants_rights_activists_Credit_Ryan_Rodrick_Beiler_Shutterstock_CNA

 

 


(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)

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