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The Democrats’ courthouse runaround

April 29, 2019

Evan Lips, communications director
617-523-5005 ext. 245

BOSTON — Democrat district attorneys on Monday filed a sweeping federal lawsuit that seeks to bar immigration officials from setting foot inside Massachusetts state courts, prompting Massachusetts Republican Party Chairman Jim Lyons to point out that the lawsuit flies in the face of the state’s own guidelines.

Lyons referenced a November 2017 state trial court guidance letter, entitled “Policy and Procedures Regarding Interactions with the Department of Homeland Security.”

The letter states in part that “DHS officials may enter a courthouse to perform their official duties” and notes that “pursuant to an immigration detainer or warrant, court officers shall permit the DHS official(s) to enter the holding cell area in order to take custody of the individual once Trial Court security personnel have finished processing that individual out of the court security personnel’s custody.

“DHS officials may enter a courthouse and perform their official duties provided that their conduct in no way disrupts or delays court operations, or court safety or decorum.”

The lawsuit, filed jointly by Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, seeks to bar anyone associated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division from carrying out assigned duties and to “immediately enjoin ICE from conducting any more courthouse arrests.”

Lyons suggested Rollins and Ryan might want to review the state’s own policy before complaining about, to quote language appearing in their own lawsuit, “the intrusion on state sovereignty.”

“Democrats throwing around the word sovereignty to support their policy of opening the floodgates for illegal immigration is unfortunate,” Lyons said. “In fact, the Democrats’ courthouse runaround directly undermines the need to protect our sovereign borders.”

Ryan’s statement linked her lawsuit with Friday’s indictment of a state judge accused of directing a twice-deported illegal immigrant out the back door of her courthouse to avoid complying with a federal detainer.

“That case itself demonstrates the need for what we seek here today and that is a clear and formal ruling from the court as to what the culture of our courthouses will be,” Ryan said in a prepared statement.

The Supreme Judicial Court, however, took immediate action that was clear and formal when it suspended Newton District Court Judge Shelley Joseph without pay. The SJC suspended Joseph on Thursday, April 25, immediately after her indictment.

“The culture of our courthouses stands on a single system of justice for all,” Lyons stressed. “Citizens obey our laws, and so must illegal immigrants.”