Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department Plans to Terminate 287(g) Agreement with ICE


September 10, 2021
Mario Paredes, PLS Staff Attorney

Today, Sheriff McDonald announced that Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department (PCSD) plans to terminate their 287(g) Agreement with ICE. These 287(g) agreements allow the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to enter into formal written agreements with state or local law enforcement agencies and deputize selected state and local law enforcement officers to perform certain functions of federal immigration agents. For county jails like PCCF this most often includes identifying folks in their custody who may be foreign-born and running their names through DHS databases in order to transfer noncitizens into federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody directly upon their release from state/local custody. Since PCSD also has a separate Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) with ICE, that provides for space in their jails for the detention of immigrants, this has resulted in PCSD continuing to detain immigrants in their facility even after they are legally required to be released from state/local custody.

The termination of this agreement is important considering that these agreements have resulted in widespread racial profiling, served as a waste of taxpayer resources and funneled immigrants into an immigration detention system that is fraught with human rights violations. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Sheriff McDonald confirmed that he has no intentions of ending their Intergovernmental Service Agreement with ICE. This means that hundreds of immigrants at PCSD will continue to be subjected to the critical health risks posed by COVID-19 and other deprivations of liberty and legal rights that have existed since before the pandemic, including: 1) physical and verbal abuse,2)  lack of appropriate medical, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment, 3) limited access to attorney phone calls and legal resources, 4) lack of religious accommodations and 5) inadequate interpretation and translation services for English Language Learners.

Therefore, it is imperative that PCSD and ICE listen to affected community members, attorneys, and advocates who are calling for the termination of their IGSA agreement and the release of immigrants back to their communities. For too long, ICE has been tearing families apart and traumatizing immigrant communities across the Commonwealth. As the last standing county in Massachusetts with an IGSA ICE contract, PLS believes that this is the opportune time for Sheriff McDonald to end PCSD’s overall collaboration with ICE and allow immigrant communities to live freely, and with dignity.