Activists Call On Jail To Stop Housing Immigration Detainees

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) —

Immigrant rights activists in Massachusetts are planning to rally near historic Plymouth Rock and outside a local jail to call on the facility to stop housing federal immigration detainees.

Organizers on Thursday evening will hold a vigil at the waterfront Pilgrim Memorial State Park followed by a march and rally at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility.

The jail is the lone remaining facility housing immigration detainees in the state, with some 77 in custody as of late last month, according to federal data.

Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald recently notified U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that his office was terminating a program that deputizes some of its staff to act as federal immigration agents. But he said the jail would continue to house immigration detainees, as it has since the 1990s, despite calls from activists.

Immigration rights groups say ending the jail's contract with ICE and releasing immigration detainees is the only way to address “critical health risks” posed by COVID-19, as well as “deprivations of liberty and legal rights" at the facility.

March organizers include former detainees, family members of current detainees and groups including the Boston Immigrant Justice Accompaniment Network, the AMOR network and the FANG Collective.