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Despite the Trump administration's attempt to throw it out, a federal lawsuit is moving forward that aims to stop the arrest of immigrants in the country illegally who are taken into custody at marriage interviews.
Judge Mark Wolf in Boston on Thursday denied the federal government's bid to dismiss the lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, with the law firm WilmerHale, on behalf of five immigrants and their U.S. citizen husbands and wives.
Wolf said there is sufficient precedent to show that Immigration and Customs Enforcement cannot deport people solely on the grounds that there is a final order of their removal from the country, as long as they have started the process of trying to regularize their situation in the U.S.
The ACLU says federal officials are ignoring regulations that permit certain spouses of U.S. citizens to remain with their families in the country while they try to obtain lawful immigration status.
"People who are seeking their green cards by virtue of their marriage to a U.S. citizen cannot be lawfully targeted for arrest and removal based solely on the fact that they have a prior order of removal," explained Matt Segal, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, shortly after the judge's ruling.
For their part, the Justice Department is arguing that federal courts do not have jurisdiction over immigration, which Wolf also rejected.
An ICE spokesman says the agency does not comment on active litigation.
With reporting from The Associated Press and Fred Thys
This article was originally published on August 23, 2018.
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