#Boston Politics
2 min read

Federal Judge Bans ICE Agents in MA Courthouses

Federal Judge Bans ICE Agents in MA Courthouses

BOSTON– A federal judge has banned any ICE agents from arresting undocumented immigrants in or around Massachusetts courthouses.

What's her reasoning?

U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani was responding to a lawsuit brought by Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, arguing that the practice of arresting undocumented immigrants near courthouses would mean that all immigrants would develop a negative perception of the justice system, and of law enforcement.

Now, that may sound a bit far-fetched. But if you're an immigrant, going to a U.S. courthouse is an intimidating process. Heck, even if you're a citizen going to a U.S. courthouse can be intimidating. And if undocumented immigrants are being arrested in or around these courts, it means they'll just stop coming to the courts, and that could raise a large number of issues. Even if you are documented, you might be scared that ICE would find a way to arrest you. If you saw a crime, you wouldn't report it, out of fear. It makes immigrants - documented or not - more vulnerable. If  an abusive partner, or workplace, knows that someone will not press charges, they're more likely to exploit that person. So if members of society are too afraid to report crime, we are in a bad place.

So, this brings us back to the decision. Ryan, the Middlesex DA, praised the judge’s move, saying the “federal court has recognized the irreparable harm being caused by ICE’s disruptive policy of using our courthouses to conduct civil arrests.”

However, the Boston Herald spoke to Jessica Vaughan, who works with the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that favors minimal immigration and into the United States and has a controversial history. She had a very different view of the ruling. “ICE agents have the authority to make these arrests, and they need to do it in the courts because it’s safer that way for officers. The judge is giving into the politics of this issue,” Vaughan said. “It’s an absurd ruling,” she added. “The judge should be examining the DAs’ demands in respect to the Constitution.”

Immigration is clearly one of the nation's most contested issues. It was a huge part of Trump's campaign and it will continue to be a huge debate in the 2020 election. This is just another example of the conflicting opinions held by both sides.