Immigration @ Work

Federal Court Orders that Immigration Arrests at Courts in Massachusetts Stop

By Amelia J. Holstrom

Back in April 2019, Marylou Fabbo reported here that prosecutors and public defenders in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit to block ICE from arresting people in and around courthouses for immigration violations.   The theory is that the arrests are posing a serious threat to the criminal justice system in Massachusetts because victims, witnesses and defendants are too afraid to go to court due to concerns they will be arrested by ICE, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to prosecute and defend such cases.

In an initial move in the lawsuit, the prosecutors and public defenders requested that a federal court issue an order stopping such arrests while the court case plays out, and, on June 20, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani granted that request. Pursuant to the Judge’s Order, ICE cannot arrest anyone inside, going to, or leaving a Massachusetts state courthouse while on official business. The decision is believed to be the first in the country stopping such immigration arrests across an entire state. 

ICE may appeal the decision. We will keep you up to date regarding future developments on this blog.

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