Federal ICE agents should be allowed to operate in state courthouses, the First Circuit court ruled in a major win for immigration agents.
The case now heads back to U.S. District Court in Boston where all sides will once again square off over where Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers can track down illegal immigrants.
District Attorneys Marian Ryan and Rachael Rollins, from Middlesex and Suffolk counties respectively, pushed to ban ICE agents from making arrests in and around Massachusetts courts. The federal appeals court rejected that ban, saying the DAs “failed to show a likelihood of success” and the court “abused its discretion” in the case.
“The district court’s contrary ruling was based on a material error of law,” the First Circuit Court of Appeals stated Tuesday, adding the matter is tossed back for more work.
Rollins said in a statement Tuesday night: “Although we are disappointed with the First Circuit’s decision, this fight is far from over. 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 attempted ban comes as suspended Newton District Court Judge Shelly Joseph faces trail for alleged obstruction of justice in federal court. Joseph, suspended from her $184,000-a-year post, and retired court officer Wesley MacGregor are accused of helping an illegal immigrant escape her courthouse to avoid an ICE agent in April of 2018.
Joseph faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of helping the illegal immigrant evade federal agents.
ICE also reported Tuesday that agents arrested more than 2,000 at-large illegal immigrants from July 13 to Aug. 20. That includes 128 arrests in the six-state region covered by the Boston field office.
ICE added that about 85% of those arrested by ICE also had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
Field Office Director Todd Lyons of Enforcement Removal Operations Boston said the “vital actions clearly show who ICE targets in an effort to protect the nation.”
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