Two Prominent Massachusetts Justices Pen Scathing Letter to ICE—Call Immigration Enforcement Agency’s Conduct an “Affront to Justice”

According to a report from the Boston Herald, two top judges in Massachusetts recently sent a public letter to U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) sharply criticizing the federal agency for detaining and deporting immigrants while local legal matters are still pending—without notifying local officials. Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Ralph Gants and Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula Carey also officially requested that ICE change its approach. 

An Affront to the Justice System

The specific case cited by the Massachusetts state judges is that of a man named Anibal Maldonado. An undocumented immigrant, Mr. Maldonado was arrested and charged with a drug-related crime last year. To be clear, he has not been convicted of the offense. When ICE took enforcement action, he was in the middle of the criminal case in Massachusetts. However, in December, he was in a courthouse lockup immediately following a pre-trial hearing. Without notifying or seeking approval from any Massachusetts officials, ICE went to the courthouse and scooped him up. He was then quickly deported from the United States.

The Request: Respect the Massachusetts Justice System

Beyond informing the public of how ICE is operating, the Massachusetts justice also made a formal request to the Trump Administration: Do not remove any criminal defendants from the state of Massachusetts without giving prior notice to the court and to the District Attorney’s Office. In doing so, they want to ensure that the federal government respects the justice system in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Deepening Divides By Massachusetts and the Federal Government

These aggressive and non-transparent tactics by ICE are just the latest in a long line of moves by the Trump Administration that have undermined trust. In recent years, many jurisdictions throughout the country, including in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, have enacted much needed sanctuary policies. In many cases, these policies were put into place, in part, because the Trump Administration has publicly declared its intentions to interfere with local communities. 

Notably, late last year, the City of Boston significantly expanded its own sanctuary policies. Other local officials in Massachusetts are also taking action to protect immigrants, immigrant communities, and the functioning of our justice system. For example, the Suffolk County District Attorney and the Middlesex County District Attorney are suing the government to keep ICE out of courthouses in Massachusetts. Currently, that lawsuit is still pending in federal court. 

Call Our Boston Immigration Lawyer for Immediate Assistance

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our top-rated Massachusetts immigration attorney fights aggressively to protect the rights and interests of clients. If you or your loved one is facing removal from the United States, our Boston deportation defense lawyer can help. 

To set up a completely confidential review of your immigration case, please contact us today at (617) 722-0005. With an office in Downtown Boston, we represent clients throughout Massachusetts, including in Brookline, Roxbury, Dorchester, Brighton, Newton, and Medford.