Massachusetts DA Gets Hot Under The Collar About ICE Arrest
Jennifer G. Hickey
As the chief prosecutor in Suffolk County, Massachusetts, Rachel Rollins has a full docket. Yet, sitting at the top of her priority list is to investigate why Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) apprehended an illegal alien with an extensive criminal past who was in state court to be arraigned on cocaine trafficking charges.Despite just swearing the oath to protect her constituents and maintain law and order, Rollins said the nature of 21-year-old Alfeu Barbosa’s crimes were irrelevant because ICE’s action was worse.“I absolutely find this incredibly troubling, irrespective of what this person was charged with. This is a high priority for me. I’m personally looking into this incident. I will personally be getting the answers,” Rollins told the Boston Globe.In the opinion of Rollins and others who seek to shield criminal aliens from deportation, the damage to trust between law enforcement and the “community” is far greater than the threat to public safety.Rollins is not the first to find fault with ICE arresting illegal aliens in “sensitive” locations, such as courthouses, schools and hospitals.Not only are these kinds of arrests not new, they are not common and certainly are not where ICE would prefer to detain and hold criminal aliens.Although they are well within their right to arrest individuals at state courthouses, ICE opted to issue a directive in January 2018 putting forward the specific occasions and circumstances when arrests should and could be made.Contrary to widely-circulated myths, ICE exempted from arrest on civil immigration charges those “family members or friends accompanying the target alien to court appearances or serving as a witness in a proceeding,” unless there are “special circumstances, such as where the individual poses a threat to public safety or interferes with ICE’s enforcement actions.”But that was not good enough for some pro-sanctuary advocacy groups who in March 2018 chose to seek a “writ of protection” that would prevent federal immigration agents from making arrests of illegal aliens in state courthouses.Their effort died when Justice Elspeth Cypher of Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court issued a ruling in September rejecting what would be an “unprecedented” action . She noted that part of her reason for denying the groups’ request was the fact the lawyers had refused to identify immigrants they claimed were too afraid to appear in court.Not only is trying to shield foreign criminals from the consequences of their crimes, including entering the country illegally, nonsensical in terms of public safety, it is a gross double-standard as no such protection is afforded to your average American criminal.
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