Massachusetts Courts Strike Deal to End ICE’s Catch-22

When ICE officials detain immigrants for having been charged with criminal offenses, and then refuse to take the immigrants to court to resolve those charges, the immigrants who happen to be innocent are caught in a Catch-22. A newly struck deal is about to change that.

Immigrants charged with offenses that get them detained by federal immigration officials have been subjected to a Catch-22 in Massachusetts. When officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement refuse to take the detainees to court to answer their criminal charges, the immigrants have no way to clear themselves of the charges that resulted in their detention in the first place.

Now, Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker reports, a deal struck by the state’s trial courts, the ACLU, public defenders, and the sheriffs of three counties, trial judges will be able to order that defendants be brought to court. Next what’s needed, Walker argues, “is to kick ICE out of Massachusetts courthouses altogether,” to make immigrants less fearful of the justice system. “Guaranteeing the right of incarcerated people to go to court is a victory for justice,” Walker writes. “But it’s only a first step in addressing overzealous immigration enforcement.”