Essentially entrapping undocumented immigrants trying to obtain legal residency, newly unsealed documents show that two federal agencies coordinated with one another in an effort to get people seeking U.S. green cards to show up at government offices where they were then detained, and in some cases, deported.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts filed a legal brief this week as part of a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), accusing ICE and Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) of entrapping the spouses of American citizens who were seeking legal residency.
According to the Boston Globe, “E-mails and depositions of ICE agents obtained through the lawsuit show the federal agencies were working ‘hand-in-hand’ to bring people in for interviews so they could be arrested and deported.”
“These were coordinated arrests. And the marriage interviews that our clients had to go through were in fact set-ups.” —Matthew Segal, ACLU
The five plaintiffs in the ACLU’s case include Lilian Calderon, a Guatemalan woman living in Rhode Island, who arrived at an immigration office for an appointment with CIS in January. Just after Calderon was interviewed about her marital status, ICE agents arrived to arrest her.
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Calderon, like at least 16 other people in New England who have been detained in the same way, had filed an I-130 petition, offered to undocumented immigrants who want legal status in the U.S. through their spouses.
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