Massachusetts Department of Corrections’ contract now last remaining 287(g) agreement in New England

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office announced it plans to end its 287(g) agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  

Carol Rose, Executive Director at the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response: 

“Across the country, 287(g) agreements turn local police and sheriffs into de facto ICE agents. The result is that even the most minor interactions with local law enforcement can lead to detention, deportation, and family separation. Barnstable County Sheriff Buckley’s swift move to end Massachusetts’ last county contract shows that local sheriffs can and should work every day to make communities safer and more just for all. We are glad to see the Barnstable County 287(g) contract end, and we call on the state Department of Corrections to end its contract too. It's time for Massachusetts to terminate the last of these harmful agreements, and for the legislature to ensure they never come back.” 


The ACLU has long advocated for the end of 287(g) programs nationwide because they are wasteful and harmful to communities. Such contracts allow local law enforcement agencies, primarily sheriffs, to carry out certain duties normally reserved for federal ICE agents, such as investigating a person’s immigration status and facilitating immigration detention. In May 2021, the Department of Homeland Security announced it cut ties with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, including ending its 287(g) contract; later, in September 2021, the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office ended its 287(g) contract. The Massachusetts Department of Corrections’ contract is now the last remaining 287(g) agreement in New England. 

In April 2022, the ACLU of Massachusetts launched its “Know Your Sheriff” campaign. While the ACLU does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office, the campaign set out to inform voters about the role of sheriffs, the life-changing decisions that sheriffs make, and how voters can move sheriffs to make communities safer and more just for all. In advance of fall 2022 elections, the “Know Your Sheriff” campaign worked in partnership with organizations across Massachusetts to bring information to voters, including through ten public education forums, candidate forums in contested counties, candidate questionnaires, and direct voter outreach in Bristol and Barnstable counties.    

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