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New Massachusetts governor to nix local immigration enforcement deal

[JURIST] Massachusetts Governor-elect Deval Patrick [campaign website] said Thursday he will rescind an agreement with the federal government allowing Massachusetts state troopers to detain illegal immigrants found or located while the troopers are performing their general duties. The agreement [JURIST report], signed earlier this month by outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney [official website] and US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, provides for 30 state troopers to receive federal immigration law enforcement training under the provisions of s. 287(g) [ICE backgrounder] of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act. That section, added in 1996, allows a trained and certified trooper conducting state criminal investigations who encounters an immigration violator, to question and detain the individual, charge them with a violation of immigration law if appropriate, and place them in removal proceedings. Similar section 287(g) agreements have been made with state authorities in Florida and Alabama, as well as with several California and North Carolina counties.

Patrick told reporters that he does not want busy state troopers to have to enforce federal law on top of their state duties. Though Patrick did not sign the agreement, the governor-elect's office thinks he has the power to revoke the agreement, which was designed to remain in effect until either party ends it. Patrick is slated to take over the Massachusetts governorship when he is inaugurated January 4. The Boston Globe has more.

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