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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Supports Immigrants, Stands Behind Newly Amended ‘Trust Act’

As reported by WGBH, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently told Boston Public Radio that immigrants should be able to feel safe in our city. The mayor’s statements came after rumors swirled that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under the instructions of the Trump Administration, was preparing to launch major raids in dozens of cities across the country — including in Boston. 

However, Mayor Walsh and Boston Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Advancement Director Yusufi Vali confirmed that there was no evidence of unusual deportation raids in the city. In addition, the Mayor also reaffirmed his support for the Boston Trust Act — a local law that was recently amended to clarify that the Boston Police Department will not act as an immigration enforcement agency. 

The Boston Trust Act: Explained

Passed unanimously by the City Council in 2014, the Boston Trust Act is a local ordinance that seeks to ensure that all immigrants are able to fully and completely participate in economic life and civil life in Boston. Among other things, the Trust Act limits cooperation between city law enforcement agencies and law enforcement officers and federal immigration agents. It is sometimes referred to as Boston’s sanctuary city statute.  

However, there have been some serious questions raised about the viability of the Boston Trust Act — especially in the light of the harsh actions that have been taken by the Trump Administration to undermine immigrant rights. 

In June of 2019, city officials, supported by Mayor Walsh, filed amendments to make the Boston Trust Act significantly stronger. Specifically, the amendments make it clear that local law enforcement officers in Boston will not arrest someone based solely on their immigration status. In Boston, the police will not make an immigration arrest unless a court order in place.

ICE Can Still Conduct Operations in Sanctuary Cities

It should be made clear that local sanctuary status is not a blanket protection against federal enforcement action. 

Boston is one of nearly a dozen cities and towns in the state of Massachusetts that identify as a ‘sanctuary’ jurisdictions for undocumented immigrants. The Boston Police Department is focused on handling local matters — not handling federal immigration issues. Still, sanctuary laws like the Boston Trust Act, as important as they are, will not always prevent ICE from conducting raids. 

If you or your loved one was arrested or detained by ICE in Massachusetts, immediate action is a must. It is imperative that you reach out to an experienced Boston, MA immigration attorney as soon as possible. 

Discuss Your Case With Our Boston, MA Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Boston immigration attorney is a compassionate and committed advocate for clients. We handle the full range of immigration cases, including defense against deportation or removal. To schedule a strictly confidential immigration consultation, please call us today at (617) 722-0005. With a law office in Boston, we serve communities throughout the state of Massachusetts. 

 

Two Massachusetts Prosecutors Sue Trump Administration Over Courthouse Immigration Arrests

According to reporting from Boston.com, two of the top prosecutors in Massachusetts have filed a joint lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the Trump Administration’s authority to conduct immigration enforcement operations at courthouses. This action comes days after a Massachusetts judge was indicted for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant escape out the backdoor of a state courthouse to avoid ICE. Here, our Boston immigration attorney provides an overview of the lawsuit and explains why ICE courthouse raids make our community less safe.

The Legal Argument: Violation of the Constitutional Right to Access Courts

The lawsuit — which is reported to be the first of its kind in the country — was filed by Rachael Rollins, the District Attorney for Suffolk County and Marian Ryan, the District Attorney for Middlesex County. In their complaint, they raise a number of different legal arguments against the federal government.

Most importantly, they argue that the Trump Administration’s policy of conducting immigration enforcement operations at Boston-area courthouses has the effect of denying many community members their constitutional right to reasonably access the courts.

When immigrants fear the possibility of an ICE raid, they are simply much less likely to participate in the legal process at all— even though they may be witnesses to the crime or even the victim of the crime. District Attorney Marian Ryan stated in a press conference that she has recently had multiple criminal cases disrupted because of this issue.

Courthouse Enforcement Operations Make Our Community Less Safe

In far too many cases, crime victims are unable to access justice because witnesses are too afraid of deportation to participate in court proceedings. Getting justice for the community requires making state and federal courts a safe space from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids and other enforcement operations. Officials in other states, including in New York and in California, have also taken action to limit the ability of federal immigration officers to conduct enforcement operations in courthouses.

Notably, the lawsuit filed by District Attorney Rollins and District Attorney Ryan comes just days after a Massachusetts judge was arrested for allegedly helping an undocumented immigrant evade an ICE agent inside a courthouse. As reported by National Public Radio (NPR), Judge Shelley Richmond Joseph of the Newton District Court was charged with obstruction of justice by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts after she allegedly helped an undocumented immigrant slip out of the back door while an ICE agent was waiting in the front of the courthouse. A now-retired court officer was also charged in the case. They both have pleaded not guilty.

Get Help From Our Boston, MA Immigration Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our Boston immigration attorneys are committed to providing exceptional legal representation to immigrants and their family members. We are strong advocates for immigrant rights in Massachusetts.

To set up a fully confidential review of your case, please do not hesitate to contact us today at (617) 722-0005. From our office in Boston, we represent clients throughout the region including in Suffolk County, Middlesex County, and Norfolk County.

 

Los Angeles 7-Eleven Stores Raided By ICE Agents, No Warrants Were Presented

On the morning of January 10th, 2018, federal immigration agents raided 7-Eleven store locations in nearly two dozen states across the country. According to reporting from the Los Angeles Times, several 7-Eleven stores in Southern California were among those that were subject to the immigration raids.

Questions are now being raised over whether or not California law was properly followed by employers. California State Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) informed reporters that he will be asking the California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Labor Commissioner’s office to investigate this situation to ensure that there was full compliance with the requirements of California law.

California Employers Must Request a Judicial Warrant From Immigration Officers

On October 5th of 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 450 (AB-450) into law. This legislation put restrictions on employer cooperation with immigration enforcement agents at California worksites. The law became effective as of January 1st, 2018. Among several other things, AB-450 bars California employers from voluntarily giving federal immigration agents access to their premises. Specific provisions include:

  1. A requirement that employers seek a judicial warrant from ICE agents;
  2. A mandate that employers give notice to workers if certain type of immigration enforcement action is set to occur; and
  3. The creation of penalties for any violation of these rules.  

The goal of this law is to provide enhanced protections to immigrants in California. This has become an especially important issue as additional threats to immigrant rights have come from the Trump Administration.

Warrants Were Not Served at the Southern California 7-Eleven Stores

According to the information in the reporting from the Los Angeles Times, ICE did not obtain judicial warrants before conducting raids at the 7-Eleven stores. Instead, a spokesperson for ICE stated that officers served these stores with I-9 inspection notices. This has raised serious questions about whether or not California law was followed by the employers.

Workplace Raids May Be Increasing

Workplace raids have long been a tactic used by immigration enforcement agencies. While this type of aggressive action was used less frequently during the Obama Administration, the recent 7-Eleven raid indicate that workplace immigration enforcement raids may be making a return. On January 15th, 2018, The New York Times published a well-sourced story suggesting that the Trump Administration plans to increase the use of job-site raids in the coming months. This is an issue that must be watched closely. It is imperative that California employers follow state law and the immigrant communities are fairly protected.

Contact Our Immigration Lawyers Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we represent people in immigration court who are facing deportation or removal from the United States. Our legal practice is dedicated to protecting the legal rights of immigrants and their families. For immediate assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Boston Immigration Court will be closed on February 8, 2013

In anticipation of a major snow storm, the Immigration Court in Boston will be closed on Friday,  February 8, 2013. The Immigration Judges will extend all filing deadlines and reschedule all deportation and bond hearings set for February 8, 2013. The court will be open normal hours on Monday, February 11, 2013.

I expect similar cancellations at the Boston and Lawrence District Offices of USCIS, but I’ve received no formal.

My law office will be closed at 1:00 PM on February 8, 2013 and the MBTA is scheduled to close at 3:30 PM

Stay warm, be safe. And, of course, call me if I can do anything at all to help you with your immigration needs.

Boston Immigration Court News: our new Immigration Judge–Brenda O’Malley

This evening I attended a meeting of the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  Robert Halpin, the Court’s Administrator, announced that Boston’s new Immigration Judge, Brenda O’Malley, will be taking the bench and hearing deportation cases starting May 18, 2009 after training in Immigration Court in Boston, MA and Hartford, CT.  Judge O’Malley has built a distinguished career having served previously with, among other places, the Office of Immigration Litigation, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) Office of Chief Immigration Judge.  Apparently, she even worked at one point as a law clerk with Boston’s Immigration Court!

Boston immigration lawyers with backlogged deportation cases are thrilled that we will soon have a new, 7th Immigration Judge to relieve the Immigration Court’s busy docket.

Rhode Island Immigration Lawyer — USCIS Rhode Island will move from Providence to Johnston in 2009

Immigration and citizenship lawyers will likely see another change for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)–this time in Rhode Island.  The USCIS Providence Office is scheduled to move to a new facility in Johnston, Rhode Island in 2009.  I plan to post the address of this new Rhode Island immigration office on this immigration blog as soon as it becomes available.

As a Boston immigration lawyer, I am disappointed to see USCIS move immigration cases in Massachusetts from Boston to Lawrence, MA.  And I’m also sad to see USCIS leave Providence, the capital and largest city in Rhode Island, for a distant locale.  But there is good news for anyone in Rhode Island thinking of applying for US citizenship.  USCIS has requested the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island for permission to conduct naturalization oath ceremonies in the new Johnston Rhode Island immigration office.  With more citizenship ceremonies, applicants for citizenship in Rhode Island should get their citizenship applications processed more quickly.  Also, unlike the USCIS Lawrence MA Office, the new USCIS immigration office in Johnston, Rhode Island will at least offer parking.