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Boston mayor silent on sanctuary city policies amid migrant crime reports

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has been silent on the city’s sanctuary policies despite multiple high-profile crimes allegedly committed by migrants in recent months.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has remained silent on reports of migrant crime in the city, indicating no plans to rethink its status as a sanctuary jurisdiction.

Reports of crimes committed by migrants and a lack of cooperation with federal authorities have sparked worries among residents and frustration within local Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

According to a report from Fox News’ Bill Melugin last week, ICE officers in Boston have been working hard to remove dangerous criminals but have had their efforts stymied by local laws. The most recent example saw an elite group of Boston-based ICE officers make five arrests that included four alleged child rapists and a member of MS-13, a group of potential dangerous criminals the officers say were allowed on the streets because of local sanctuary policies that denied the agency’s detainer requests.

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While ERO Boston Field Office Director Todd Lyons praised the work of local officers to remove the potential threats to the community from the streets, he admitted the sanctuary policies in Boston are "frustrating" and make it more difficult for the agency to do its job.

"That’s every day up here in Boston," Lyons told Melugin. "Those are the public safety threats we really want to get off the street. It was a great day, great day for the team. Five public safety threats that can’t victimize anyone anymore."

That frustration comes amid increased reports in recent months of violent crimes committed by migrants in Massachusetts, including one case last month in which a Haitian migrant allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl at a hotel in Rockland, a town located just over 20 miles south of downtown Boston.

The migrant, Cory Alvarez, was ordered held without bail, according to an NBC 10 report last month, but ICE officials still face obstacles when it comes to federal deportation proceedings. That issue was highlighted in January when another Haitian migrant who was charged with raping a developmentally disabled person was released back into the Boston community, despite pleas from ICE to transfer the suspect into their custody.

"Disturbingly and despite our filing an immigration detainer, this individual was released back into the community by the criminal court," ICE said in a statement at the time.

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Wu’s office did not respond to multiple Fox News Digital requests for comment.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has also come under fire amid the reported crimes and the state’s program to shelter migrants.

"It's a horrible situation, a horrible allegation and my thoughts are with the victim," Healey said of the Rockland incident in an interview last month with CBS Boston.

But the governor also distanced herself from responsibility for the incident, noting that the state does have security systems in place that are not foolproof while taking aim at congressional Republicans for not supporting President Biden’s bipartisan immigration bill.

"Donald Trump said no deal, no deal before the election, and they all pulled back, the Republicans pulled back," Healey said of the failed bill. "That's playing politics and we and other states continue to pay the price."

While Massachusetts does not have an official statewide sanctuary policy on the books, the Center for Immigration Studies classifies the state as a sanctuary jurisdiction as a result of a 2017 state supreme court ruling that concluded that state law "provides no authority for Massachusetts court officers to arrest and hold an individual solely on the basis of a Federal civil immigration detainer, beyond the time that the individual would otherwise be entitled to be released from State custody."

Healey’s office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment on whether changes to state law were being considered.

Like Healey, Wu has also pinned the blame on federal laws, saying in February that the crisis reaching her city is a symptom "of a federal immigration system that's been broken."

"At the federal level, there have been over a decade of conversations about how to fix, but as those conversations are ongoing about how to ensure there are legal pathways to citizenship and then to have enforcement and security at the border around legal pathways, and then to have resources directed down to municipalities, it's a lot before anything might be ever felt at the local level," Wu said at the time, according to a report from NBC 10.

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Those comments came after Wu visited Washington, D.C., in January for talks with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, when the Boston mayor called for more federal funding for cities impacted by the influx of migrants.

But without changes to state or local laws, Lyons told Melugin there is only so much his officers in Boston can do with their current staffing levels.

"I don’t have enough officers or resources to tackle all these public safety threats," Lyons said. "Are we gonna go after the child rapist today, or are we gonna go after the twice deported fentanyl dealer? Because we can’t do both."

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