On the heels of the indictment of Massachusetts State Judge Shelley Joseph for helping an illegal alien evade Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers, two progressive state prosecutors filed a lawsuit aimed at keeping ICE out of courthouses across the Commonwealth.
Flanked by liberal public defenders and social justice advocates, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins alleged at a Monday morning press conference that ICE agents were violating the constitutional right of individuals to access the courts by making deportation arrests inside Massachusetts courthouses.
Ryan brought her best rhetorical flair to the occasion describing ICE’s policy as “an assault on our justice system” before claiming that arresting deportable illegal aliens undermined the administration of justice in immigrant communities.
“ICE’s policy is undermining the work of the justice system as a whole. Prosecutors are forced to abandon cases because many victims and witnesses are deterred from appearing in court. The policy also makes it more difficult to obtain defendants’ appearance in court,” said Ryan.
Also party to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Boston, are: Lawyers for Civil Rights, the Committee for Public Counsel Services, which provides legal aid to low-income individuals and the Chelsea Collaborative, a Latino community organization serving Chelsea, an urban community on the northern border of Boston.
“Prosecutors are forced to abandon cases because many victims and witnesses are deterred from appearing in court. The policy also makes it more difficult to obtain defendants’ appearance in court,” the groups claimed in a joint statement.
Last December, a group of left-wing judges sent a letter to then-ICE Acting Director Ron Vitiello making similar demands that federal authorities stop enforcing the law inside courts.
Ryan also declared without any evidence that “not one person in our Commonwealth is safer because of that practice,” but those who know something about public safety disagreed.
“Shame on the elected officials and pro-illegal advocates for filing this frivolous lawsuit, which seeks to make it more difficult for federal law enforcement officers to apprehend criminal illegal aliens,” said Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson in a press release.
Rollins showed her commitment to upholding the law has its limits when she boasted that it would be “my honor” to be arrested with the newly indicted Judge Joseph.
“I am in no fear of arrest. and very candidly, if I am, it would be my honor to be because we need to stand up and be very, very bold about this ridiculous behavior that our president is engaging in right now,” she said after the lawsuit was filed. (It’s worth noting that the so-called “ridiculous” behavior of which Rollins accuses the president is nothing other than enforcing the Immigration and Nationality Act, a law duly enacted by Congress.)
According to reports, Rollins became aware of plans to file the lawsuit after 21-year-old Alfeu Barbosa, an illegal alien from Cape Verde, was arrested when he went to court to face cocaine trafficking charges. He also had a prior record.
Following Barbosa’s arrest, Rollins professed her outrage, saying she found the courthouse arrest “incredibly troubling, irrespective of what this person was charged with” and then declared the case would be a “high priority.”
“I’m personally looking into this incident. I will personally be getting the answers,” Rollins told the Boston Globe.
It was not her first time publicly opposing federal immigration authorities enforcing the law inside local courthouses. Shortly after her election, Rollins wrote in a controversial memo that if any assistant district attorney, victim witness advocate, or Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office employee “observes” either ICE or Department of Homeland Security officers “apprehending or questioning parties” then “they are to immediately notify me (the District Attorney), my First Assistant, or my General Counsel.”
The plaintiffs have made no effort to prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from making civil arrests in Massachusetts courts. If they did, the day-to-day business of the courts would come to a screeching halt. That omission simply underscores the reality that the lawsuit has little to do with justice and more about trying to bend the justice system to their warped wills.