ICE Arrested an Immigrant in a Park in East Boston, Local Officials Want Answers

According to a report from Boston.com, an immigrant of Guatemalan national origin was arrested by federal immigration authorities in a park in East Boston—and local leaders are demanding answers. The 40-year-old man is now facing possible deportation from the United States.

Elder Misan Guerra-Perez was pushed into an unmarked van near Bremen Street Park. Notably, a video of the ICE officers detaining the man was shared on Twitter. Many Boston-area officials are actively seeking more information about what happened and why it happened.

Massachusetts State Representative: “An Unsettling Incident”

Massachusetts State Representative Adrian Madaro (D-Suffolk) represents the East Boston neighborhood where the ICE arrest took place. After the video spread around Twitter and other social media platforms, Rep. Madaro called it “an unsettling incident” and noted that it is “a disturbing breach to many in the East Boston community.” Along with other local officials and community leaders, state representatives are seeking more information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

It is worth emphasizing that the park where the immigration enforcement action occurred is owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport). Massport is a self-funding government agency. Many of our state and local leaders want to know exactly what parameters Massport is using when allowing ICE to operate on its premises. As Boston is a sanctuary jurisdiction, there are questions being raised regarding MassPort’s actions as well as the conduct of local police.

Boston is a Sanctuary City—But It is Not Always Clear What that Means

In December of 2019, the Boston City Council expanded local sanctuary policies. Boston is considered to be a sanctuary city. However, that term has no technical legal definition—meaning different sanctuary cities have different policies. As such, there is often a considerable amount of confusion over what protection immigrants actually have in Boston and other nearby communities.

One thing is clear: The Boston Trust Act limits the interactions between local law enforcement agencies and federal immigration officers. City Councilor Lydia Edwards, who is the local representative for East Boston, is seeking more information on what role local police played in the arrest, if any.

Commonwealth residents could benefit from additional clarity at the state-level. While there was a push to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state, it did not succeed. Last year, legislators even held a hearing in an effort to make Massachusetts a sanctuary state. However, that bill was not able to gain traction after a public veto threat from Republican Governor Charlie Baker.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Boston Immigration Attorney Today

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Boston immigration lawyer is a skilled and solutions-driven advocate for immigrants and immigrant families. If you have any questions or concerns about your legal rights, we are here as a resource. Call us right away for a completely confidential initial consultation. With a legal office in Boston, we represent clients throughout New England, including in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.