In an amicus brief filed in support of the plaintiffs against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and others, the coalition late last month urged the court to uphold a Massachusetts District Court’s preliminary injunction that effectively halted arrests by ICE.
The brief followed a suit James filed last year challenging the legality of the federal government’s expanded policy of arresting Caribbean and other immigrants in or around state courthouses in New York, and a brief she filed earlier this year opposing the same policy in the state of Washington.
“ICE’s continued efforts to arrest immigrants at or near state courthouses endanger us all and threaten every New Yorker’s safety,” James said. “These unconstitutional arrests have skyrocketed since President (Donald) Trump took office, as the president has pushed an anti-immigrant agenda for purely political reasons.
“ICE’s unlawful arrests clearly trample all over states’ rights, obstruct true justice from being carried out, and unnecessarily threaten immigrants for cheap political points, which is why our coalition will continue to fight them every step of the way,” she added.
James said “we will continue to pursue our own lawsuit against ICE to halt these illegal arrests that have had a chilling effect here in New York.”
In April 2019, both the Middlesex County district attorney and the Suffolk County district attorney in Massachusetts, along with immigrant advocates, sued ICE and DHS, among others, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
They argued the federal government’s policy and practice of arresting the foreign nationals – both undocumented and those with legal status – at or around state courthouses violated the Administrative Procedure Act, the Tenth Amendment and the right of access to courts, which is protected by the First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
The plaintiffs had filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt the Trump Administration’s policies and were successful.
The Trump Administration appealed the preliminary injunction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.