Watch Your Reps: James Lyons & the Immigration Case

Action Item below:

Sreynuon Lunn is a Cambodian national arrested for criminal charges earlier this year. He was unable to post a $1,500 bail and was held until his trial date of Feb. 6, on a case out of Boston Municipal Court. Ultimately, the charges were dismissed but Judge Michael Coyne refused to release Lunn due to a request from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). So Lunn was moved to federal immigration custody. Lunn’s lawyer appealed to the state’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), to determine whether Massachusetts law allows a state court officer to keep someone in custody if there are no pending criminal charges. (Immigration violations are civil offenses, not criminal.)

And last week, the SJC found that “Massachusetts court officers cannot hold a suspected illegal immigrant in custody at the request of federal immigration agents if there is no criminal warrant or criminal detainer.” (Chris Villani, Boston Herald, July 24, 2017)

The court said that under Massachusetts law, police officers and court officers do not have the authority, in the absence of a statute, to arrest for Federal civil immigration matters.

On July 26, Bob Salsberg reported in the Boston Globe that “Gov. Charlie Baker is working on a bill in response to a court ruling that forbids police officers in Massachusetts from holding a person based solely on a federal immigration detainer request.” And, in fact, 2 days before this, James Lyons had retweeted a tweet from Rep. Marc Lombardo which stated: “Today’s MA SJC ruling says if you’re a criminal illegal alien, have no fear arrest. I will file legislation with @RepJimLyons to fix this.” (This is not what the ruling says.)

And, on Lyons’ Facebook page from July 25:

The Massachusetts supreme judicial court ruled this week that police officers cannot arrest or detain illegal immigrants who have a federal immigration detainer !!
Today I joined with other republicans and filed a bill to clarify this ruling . Our bill will allow police and law enforcement personnel to arrest illegal immigrants .
This is about public safety . Public safety is the responsibility of our government ..
Every day that the democrats refuse to act is a day that our citizens are put at risk…
In January The power brokers rammed thru their 55% pay raise in less than a week ….
Please demand that they pass our bill to protect our citizens….now !!
Please call speaker Deleo and your local representative and demand that this bill house docket 4168 becomes law …. 617-722-2000

So, let’s take his advice and call Speaker Deleo at 617-722-2000 and let him know that we oppose house docket bill 4168. Also, why not let Rep. Lyons what you think at 617-722-2460 or james.Lyons@mahouse.gov.

Note: James Lyons can be found on Twitter at @RepJimLyons and on Facebook as Jim Lyons (he has two Facebook accounts but this is the one that he keeps current). He represents Eighteenth Essex, consisting of Andover precincts 1,5, 6, 7, 8, 9; Boxford precinct 1; North Andover precincts 6, 7, 8 and Tewksbury precincts 3 and 3A. He has refused to provide voters with his positions on key issues via votesmart.org but his views and positions can be gleaned by the bills he sponsors and the news he posts on his Facebook account. For someone with very little to say, he came out big in support of a nativity scene at the State House this winter.

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