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Police Chiefs Back Baker's Immigrant Detainer Bill

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaking in Great Barrington in December 2015.
Jim Levulis

    A bill proposed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to give local police the authority to detain undocumented immigrants wanted for serious crimes has been endorsed by two law enforcement organizations.

     The Massachusetts Association of Police Chiefs and the state chapter of the Major City Police Chiefs Association called Baker’s proposal a “common sense” and “safety-oriented” approach.

     Immigrant rights groups and the ACLU have criticized the plan. 

     " I think Gov. Baker's bill represents a full frontal attack on constitutional rights and the rights of undocumented immigrants," Diana Sierra, an organizer with the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, said.

     Baker filed the bill in response to a ruling from the state’s highest court that struck down a policy the Republican governor put in place last year that allowed local and Massachusetts State Police to cooperate, on a limited basis, with federal immigration agents.

     The state legislature could take up the bill when lawmakers return from summer recess.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.