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Immigrant Justice Clinic Report Cited in Lawsuit Against ICE Immigrant Justice Clinic Report Cited in Lawsuit Against ICE

05.01.19 — The law school’s Immigrant Justice Clinic is cited in a complaint filed by the Middlesex County DA (Marian Ryan), Suffolk County DA (Rachael Rollins ’99), the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Chelsea Collaborative in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiffs are suing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Acting Deputy Director of ICE, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security to stop the practice of arresting immigrants at courthouses. The complaint references a study conducted by the Immigrant Justice Clinic, “Blocking the Courthouse Doors: ICE Enforcement at Massachusetts Courthouses and Its Effects on the Judicial Process.” 

The lawsuit comes in the wake of  federal prosecutors charging a state judge and a former court officer in Massachusetts with obstruction of justice for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant escape from an ICE officer at a Newton courthouse last year. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey ’98 also spoke out about the case. “Today’s indictment is a radical and politically motivated attack on our state and the independence of our courts,” said Healey, in a statement. “It is a bedrock principle of our constitutional system that federal prosecutors should not recklessly interfere with the operation of state courts and their administration of justice.”

Rollins recently issued a policy memo instructing her staff to tell her if they encounter ICE agents at the courthouse. 

Our students spent several weeks conducting observations at Massachusetts courthouses and they gathered numerous examples of cases in which ICE arrests interfered with the judicial process and prevented individuals from attending hearings or complying with probation requirements,” said Professor Rachel Rosenbloom, faculty co-director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic.  “There is increasing attention these days to the harmful effects of ICE’s presence in state courthouses, and our report has been cited in numerous media reports and advocacy efforts.”

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