Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling
Issued on July 24, 2017

Policy Summary

On July 24th the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that Massachusetts law enforcement agencies do not have the right to detain people solely under Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. An ice detainer is One of the main methods that ice uses to detain undocumented immigrants. An ICE detainer is a written request that a local jail or other law enforcement agency detain an individual for an additional 48 hours. The American Civil Liberties Union has called ICE’s use of detainers unconstitutional because it allows for suspects to be detained without due process. LEARN MORE


This ruling puts the state of Massachusetts directly at odds with the Trump administration on the topic of sanctuary cities. A day after this ruling the Department of Justice issued new guidelines which would withhold Federal funding from cities which refused to allow it ICE access to its jails. I’ve discussed this action in a separate a full brief. The war on Sanctuary cities is unlikely to achieve increases Public Safety, in fact, the opposite is likely to happen as immigrant communities will be less likely to report criminals.  As such, it’s important to stay informed and speak out against the Trump administration needless war against Sanctuary Cities. LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources

  • Take Action with United We Dream: United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. They organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.
  • Get involved with the American Civil Liberties Union: The ACLU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States
  • Find a Congressional Town Hall Meeting Near You: Search by town and state or zip code to find a congressional Town Hall scheduled near you.  Voice your concerns about the Travel Ban and other Trump Administration policies directly to your Representative or Senator.

This brief was compiled by William Lucier. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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