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Mass. High Court Rules Local Authorities Can’t Detain People Solely On ICE Detainers

John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Photo by Joe Difazio for WBUR

Massachusetts’ highest court ruled Monday that local law enforcement officials do not have the authority, under state law, to detain a person based solely on a request from federal immigration authorities.

The landmark decision by the Supreme Judicial Court was hailed by immigrant activists and state Attorney General Maura Healey, who called it “a victory for the rule of law.”

In ruling on the Lunn v. Commonwealth case, the high court concluded that state law “provides no authority for Massachusetts court officers to arrest and hold an individual solely on the basis of a Federal civil immigration detainer, beyond the time that the individual would otherwise be entitled to be released from State custody.”

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