On Tuesday, a federal Appeals Court ruling reversed the practice of courthouses being a safe zone where Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could not arrest people suspected of living in the U.S. illegally.
The reversal now allows ICE agents to begin entering courthouses once again to arrest those accused of immigration violation. The case before the Appeals Court came from DA Rachael Rollins and Middlesex DA Marian Ryan sought to bar the arrests in courthouses. They and other court officials had argued that the arrests were disrupting the criminal justice system and court proceedings because some were afraid to come to the court.
In June 2019, U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ruled that ICE agents should be barred from making arrests in courthouses on people suspected of civil immigration violations – extending that to when they are arriving and leaving as well.
That portion was struck down on Tuesday.
DA Rollins said the fight isn’t over and she doesn’t agree with the decision.
“In Suffolk County, we fight to protect the right of every person, irrespective of immigration status, to have access to our courts without fear of civil arrest,” she said. “Although we are disappointed with the First Circuit’s decision, this fight is far from over. We will review and consider all of our options and move forward in a way that honors the people of Suffolk County, their families and basic human and civil rights. We are absolutely on the right side of justice here. It is never a loss when you are fighting for human rights, justice, and building a safer community.”
The Appeals Court said the DAs had not proven that ICE lacks the statutory authority to be barred from making such arrests.
Arrests in courthouses by ICE have occurred in the greatest numbers during the last two presidential administrations.