Federal immigration officials have been increasingly blown off by Boston-area authorities when they ask that illegal immigrants in police custody be detained for possible deportations, the Boston Herald reports. The pushback bucks a national trend that has seen a sharp drop in the number of detainer requests by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that have been denied by local law enforcement. The Boston ICE office, which covers all of New England, saw 59 of its requests to hold on to arrested immigrants denied last year. That’s up from 56 in 2015 and just 18 in 2014.
The denial rate of ICE detainers nationally has plummeted, from 10,701 in 2014 and 8,546 in 2015 to 2,008 last year. Jessica Vaughan of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies said Boston’s detainer denial rate is particularly disturbing after ICE decided to expressly focus on immigrants with criminal records. “They’re really boiling it down to worst of the worst,” Vaughan said, “and if they’re rejecting even those detainers, you have to ask yourself what public safety risk they are creating.” Massachusetts deported the lowest percentage of illegal aliens of any state last year.