Warren calls Baker detainer bill ‘un-American’

Newton mayor says lack of due process rights is wrong

NEWTON MAYOR and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren doubled-down on his criticism of Gov. Charlie Baker’s ICE detainer legislation on Friday, calling the governor’s proposal “un-American.”

Baker’s bill seeks to address a Supreme Judicial Court ruling that found police had no legal standing in Massachusetts to honor civil immigration detainer requests made by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. The governor’s legislation would allow state and local police, under specific circumstances, to detain on behalf of ICE someone already in custody.

Warren said earlier this week that the governor’s bill was attempting to make Massachusetts police part of President Trump’s “deportation force.” Yet State House News reported on Thursday that Newton has its own ordinance, which Warren signed off on in February, that would allow police, again under certain conditions, to detain someone on behalf of ICE.

Warren said in a telephone interview on Friday that there is a key difference between the Newton ordinance and the governor’s bill. He said the ordinance preserves the due process rights of the person being detained, allowing him or her to challenge the detainer request in court. Warren said the governor’s proposal expressly revokes those rights.

“There is no similarity between the Newton ordinance and the governor’s bill,” Warren said. “This is taking away due process rights. This is an un-American idea.”

The Newton ordinance specifically states that the arrest or detention must be consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution and Article XIV of the Massachusetts constitution, both of which deal with unreasonable searches and seizures.

The governor’s bill would allow police to detain an individual on behalf of ICE as long as a “supervisory officer” determines the person is a threat to public safety and he or she is provided with a copy of the written request from ICE. Baker’s bill would not permit a person to be detained longer than 12 hours unless a “judicial officer” makes a probable cause determination to do so.

“The determination of probable cause for detention shall be an ex parte proceeding,” the governor’s bill says. “The person detained shall have no right to appear, either in person or by counsel.”

Warren said the governor’s bill would likely be declared unconstitutional. “You’re calling for the federal government to come in and take a person’s right of due process,” he said. “It’s wrong.”

Baker administration officials said the probable cause language in the legislation is parallel to what’s contained in the Massachusetts rules of criminal procedure, so if the legislation is unconstitutional then so are the rules of criminal procedure.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Brendan Moss, a spokesman for Baker, said in a statement that the legislation was written in a way that would “allow the State Police to honor specific detainers for violent and dangerous criminals convicted of crimes like murder and rape, and provide local officials with the flexibility they need to set policies appropriate to keep their communities safe.”

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party said Warren is tacking to the left on the issue to bolster his gubernatorial bid.

“Just a few months ago, Mayor Warren expressly permitted his local police to cooperate with ICE to detain illegal immigrants convicted of crimes,” MassGOP spokesman Terry MacCormack said in a statement. “But now that he’s locked in a Democratic Party primary he is suddenly opposed to detaining convicted murders and drug dealers. This primary is surely shaping up to be a race to the extreme left.”

  • lynne

    illegals aren’t protected by the Constitution. It only protects American Citizens