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Romney signs deal allowing Massachusetts troopers to detain illegal immigrants

[JURIST] Outgoing Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney [official website] signed an agreement [press release] Wednesday allowing Massachusetts state troopers to detain illegal immigrants found or located while the troopers are performing their general duties. The agreement, co-signed by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) 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. It is unclear, however, whether the Massachusetts program will ultimately become effective, as Massachusetts Governor-elect Deval Patrick [campaign website], a Democrat who takes office in January, has already spoken out against state enforcement of federal immigration law as imposing an additional burden on state law enforcement personnel and resources. AP has more.

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