ACLU Accuses Federal Agencies Of 'Trapping' Undocumented Immigrants Seeking Legal Residency

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An ICE agent (Courtesy of ICE)
An ICE agent (Courtesy of ICE)

Two federal agencies have been accused of setting up traps to arrest and sometimes deport undocumented immigrants in Boston.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit that ICE had coordinated with another federal agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The ACLU claims that when people came for interviews with CIS seeking legal residency, they would be arrested by ICE agents. Many going to CIS were married to American citizens and were seeking legal status through their spouses.

Court records released on Monday show ICE officer Andrew Graham describing this practice in an email to a CIS employee last year:

"CIS schedules the interviews and spreads them out over a period of time so as not to overburden our ability to handle the workload. ... As far as scheduling goes, I would prefer not to do them all at one time as it is [not] only a strain on our ability to transport and process several arrests at once, but it also has the potential to be a trigger for negative media interests, as we have seen in the past."

This year, ICE has detained 17 people seeking legal status through their families at government offices in New England, according to the ACLU.


Fred Thys, WBUR political and higher education reporter. He tweets @fredthys.

This segment aired on August 14, 2018.


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Deborah Becker Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.


Headshot of Fred Thys

Fred Thys Reporter
Fred Thys reported on politics and higher education for WBUR.


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Eve Zuckoff Freelance Producer, Radio Boston
Eve Zuckoff was a freelance producer for Radio Boston.



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