BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — In response to a question about additional federal immigration officers being sent to sanctuary cities including Boston, BPD Commissioner William Gross reiterated that his officers were not here to do the job of ICE or CBP.
"I tell you what, all I'm interested in is repeat violent offenders," Gross said. "Once you come to Boston, no matter where you hail from, you're a citizen of Boston. We are not agents of ICE. We are here in this community protecting all citizens no matter where they hail from."
Gross said that commitment didn't give anyone a pass, though.
"But here's a message as well to those committed to crime," he continued. "You do harm to our citizens, we will lock you up, it doesn't matter where you're from. I'm not going to let any title or any location where someone's from stop justice for victims of crime."
Last week, news broke that members of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol's SWAT team-like BORTAC unit will soon be deployed to Boston and other sanctuary cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, in order to bolster federal ICE operations in those cities. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said city officials do not yet know what those CBP officers will be doing in Boston.
Boston, along with Cambridge, Somerville, and several other Massachusetts cities, are sanctuary cities—meaning they have municipal laws meant to protect undocumented immigrants from being deported solely on the basis of their immigration status, in defiance of federal immigration law.
Late last year, Mayor Walsh signed the Trust Act, which calls on Boston Police to not ask individuals about their immigration status, act as federal immigration officers, make arrests solely based on ICE warrants, transfer anyone to ICE custody, or share information with ICE.
Under the series of ordinances, Boston Police will continue working with ICE on public safety issues, just not issues of civil immigration enforcement.
The Trump Administration, along with Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Andrew Lelling, has criticized sanctuary cities for not assisting ICE and CBP. In a Boston Herald op-ed, Lelling called the sanctuary city movement a "genuine and persistent threat to our communities and the rule of law."
by Jon Palmer