DHS limits immigration enforcement in courthouses

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Massachusetts Bar Association LogoThe Department of Homeland Security has announced a new policy limiting actions on civil immigration enforcement in courthouses.

"Ensuring that individuals have access to the courts advances the fair administration of justice, promotes safety for crime victims, and helps to guarantee equal protection under the law," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas. "The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement. Today’s guidance is the latest step in our efforts to focus our civil immigration enforcement resources on threats to homeland security and public safety."

Last year, the Massachusetts Bar Association filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs in the case of Ryan, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The plaintiffs challenged ICE’s immigration-related enforcement activities in and around Massachusetts courthouses, and the brief argues in support of the U.S. District Court’s preliminary injunction that prohibits ICE from arresting immigrants at courthouses.

The MBA was joined in the brief by the Boston Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys and the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston.