Attorney Michele Sisselman of Watertown, a consultant to Berkshire Immigrant Center in Pittsfield, met with the eight last weekend in Rhode Island.She
passed along information gathered from the detainees to civil rights groups here and in Boston, who denounced the state police for collaborating in the roundup in violation of Gov.
Late Wednesday, Sisselman
apologized, explaining that she
had passed on mistaken information provided by the eight detainees, who believed that the state police were involved.
"There has been a misunderstanding: These people thought they were being detained by state police," she
and other advocates said the immigrants were aware of ongoing controversy over state police involvement with ICE raids.
State police also have been accused of initiating immigration status inquiries during routine traffic stops, a practice that has been restricted by the governor but has nevertheless instilled distrust of law enforcement among immigrants who may be victims of crime or witnesses to crime.
"It's because there is so much fear in the Berkshires
of law enforcement among immigrants, and this is how they expressed it to me," Sisselman
Those three had pre-existing plane tickets to return to Brazil, Sisselman
said this week, adding that she
believed they were within their legal rights to be in the United States.