Sunday, November 17, 2019
In April, she and a court officer, Wesley MacGregor, were accused of allowing an immigrant to evade detention by arranging for him to sneak out the back door of a courthouse. Massachusetts has been at the forefront of the sanctuary city movement, its courts passing a series of legal rulings that constrain Immigration and Customs Enforcement from detaining immigrants in courthouses.
The federal prosecutor in Boston took the unusual step of charging the judge with obstruction of justice, setting off a debate over whether and how states can refrain from carrying out President Trump’s immigration policy. The move has stirred division. Her supporters feel that, even if she behaved inappropriately, a judicial sanction is more appropriate than federal prosecution, which they warn will open the door for prosecution of other judges, undercutting their independence. They claim the prosecution is politically-motivated.
Her critics say it is inapproriate to to defy ICE requests: “Massachusetts courts blatantly and willfully disregard ICE’s requests to detain aliens on a daily basis, and cannot be relied upon to honor our requests,” an official in ICE’s Boston field office complained in internal emails. United States Attorney Andrew Lelling, who filed the charges, said that the Massachusetts office would be taking tougher stance on immigration: “Some of our judges are motivated by their personal conclusions that it’s unfair in certain instances to deport someone,” he told The Boston Globe. “That’s not law, just their personal feelings.”