The ACLU of Massachusetts and Greater Boston Legal Services today filed a public records request seeking information about a joint “task force” between the Boston Police Department (BPD) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The public records request follows a U.S. Department of Labor complaint alleging that two BPD officers—one of them a member of a “BPD-ICE task force”—were instruments of an employer’s unlawful retaliation against an injured worker. After the employee sought legal remedies for the injury, BPD officers helped orchestrate the employee’s arrest by federal immigration officials.
“The allegation that the Boston Police Department facilitated the ICE arrest of an injured worker is alarming, and calls into question the City of Boston’s commitment to workers and immigrant communities,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts. “Immigrants are forced into the shadows when police arrest them for doing the right thing, such as reporting a work injury. The City must do all it can to protect and defend our immigrant neighbors, coworkers, and friends. We hope this public records request is a step toward aligning police practices and the City’s stated support for immigrants and workers.”
“It is shocking that the BPD allegedly played a central role in helping an employer retaliate against a seriously injured worker, who simply sought medical care and workers’ compensation benefits that the law provides regardless of immigration status,” said Audrey Richardson, Senior Attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, who represents the worker, Jose Martin Paz Flores, in connection with the Department of Labor investigation. “BPD’s alleged action dramatically increases the vulnerability of immigrant workers to exploitation and abuse, and it is highly inconsistent with the message that the City otherwise sends.”
The ACLU is seeking all documents relating to the creation, purpose, membership, management, responsibilities, and effectiveness of a BPD-ICE task force. The request also seeks a summary of the BPD’s cooperation and communication with ICE, and any documents relating to the arrest of the employee and/or the U.S. Department of Labor’s investigation into the matter.
Under Massachusetts law, the City must respond to the request within ten days.
View the public records request below or click here.
UPDATE: To view the documents received from the Boston Police Department, click here.