Recently, two district attorneys in Massachusetts have joined several nonprofit groups to sue the federal government to halt immigration agents from making arrests at courthouses in the state of Massachusetts.
The arrests at courthouses in the state of Massachusetts are what attorneys everywhere have feared may happen to undocumented immigrants. Arrests by ICE agents at courthouses limits the ability of immigrants to access the justice system. This move is unprecedented and violates a core American principle, that every person has the right to their day in court.
With the threat of arrests waiting for immigrants on the courthouse steps, attorneys fear that immigrants may fail to either pursue and/or defend their claims in a wide variety of lawsuits that span beyond immigration such as criminal, family, personal injury and other civil matters.
District Attorneys have voiced their concerns about ICE making arrests on the courthouse steps because may hinder the prosecution of criminal cases. Specifically, district attorneys fear that it may cause key witnesses to become uncooperative and not participate in the prosecution of a case. This applies to both the defendant in the criminal matter and independent third parties.
The parties in Massachusetts have asked their local U.S. District Court to issue an injunction preventing the arrests of undocumented immigrants on the courthouse steps.