Federal immigration agencies have launched a coordinated campaign to arrest and deport immigrants seeking to become legal U.S. residents through marriage, according to documents released this week in a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The documents, which include depositions and correspondence from federal officials, show the extent to which officials for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have been coordinating with their counterparts at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to facilitate arrests at citizenship offices in New England.
The ACLU, in its arguments, criticizes the efforts as a deportation “trap” that violates the constitutional rights of immigrants otherwise following the rules to become legal residents. “The government created this path for them to seek a green card,” Matthew Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said in an interview Tuesday. “The government can’t create that path and then arrest folks for following that path.”
ICE spokesman John Mohan responded that allegations of “inappropriate coordination” between the two agencies are “unfounded” and that coordination between the two Department of Homeland Security agencies is “lawful and legitimate.” He declined to elaborate, citing the pending litigation.