Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has joined a coalition of 14 states seeking to stop the federal government from arresting undocumented immigrants on their way to court without first getting a judicial warrant or court order.
All 14 states, including Maryland, filed an amicus brief Thursday that supports the state of Washington, which in December sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The coalition argues that the practice of arresting undocumented immigrants at or around courthouses is unconstitutional because if denies the immigrants the right to access courts. In a news release, Frosh said the practice interferes with states’ criminal justice systems by deterring certain witnesses from going to court.
“When ICE is arresting people at courthouses, it impedes law enforcement,” Frosh said in the release. “Victims and witnesses are afraid to come forward if they think they will be deported, and criminals can get a free pass by preying upon non-citizens.”
The Washington state lawsuit calls for a preliminary injunction to stop the arrests.