Since the election of Donald Trump, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been arresting and deporting illegal immigrants from a number of locations. One of the locations where arrests are occurring has caused a great deal of controversy among those in the legal community. ICE has been arresting illegal immigrants who are coming to court hearings for their own legal matters or to be witnesses in other cases.
District attorneys in more than one state have filed suit against the federal government in order to stop the practice of ICE arrests at courthouses. The district attorneys claim that fear of arrest and deportation are keeping people from showing up for their court cases and from being witnesses in other cases.
This week, federal judge Indira Talwani ruled on a case brought against ICE by district attorneys, public defenders and those who assist immigrants. Talwani issued a preliminary injunction stopping ICE from making certain types of arrests at state courthouses in the state of Massachusetts. The judge barred ICE from making civil arrests of those on official business with the court. Those with court cases, those serving as witnesses and those coming and leaving from the courthouse on official business will not be allowed to be detained by ICE.
The judge’s ruling will allow ICE to make arrests in some circumstances. ICE agents will be able to take into custody those who are wanted in conjunction with criminal offenses. Illegal immigrants already in custody for other matters will also be allowed to be detained by ICE.
This is not the only case concerning ICE that is occurring in the state of Massachusetts. Currently, a case is being heard in Boston where a judge has been charged with obstruction of justice for supposedly helping an immigrant avoid detention by ICE agents.