Five immigrants were arrested by U.S. Immigration officers after they showed up for their Green Card interviews in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
According to WBUR radio in Boston, the five were arrested on Wednesday after showing up at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office.
One of the immigrant arrested who was from Brazil had a prior deportation order but had since gotten married to a U.S. citizen who in turn petitioned for her green card.
According to her attorney Brian Doyle, his client who has no criminal record was arrested after her interview which lasted for 40 minutes.
The ICE agents entered the office and arrested her in front of the immigration officer who conducted her interview.
The Brazilian national has been in the US for more than 15 years and she is a mother of three US born children. She is also a business owner and has no criminal record.
Responding to the reports, ICE said in a statement that they were “responding to an investigative tip” and that the individuals arrested had final removal orders issued by a federal immigration judge. “All five will be held in custody pending removal from the United States,” the statement read.
Immigration advocates however contend that ICE has the authority to detain and remove individuals under these circumstances. They said that the Trump administration has however shifted from the previous administration’s priority of focusing on criminal aliens.
“What this means is that people who are eligible to obtain their green card in the United States, who are following the law, who are following the rules, who are doing what the government is instructing them to do, are going to be too terrified to show up and follow through with the process,” said Susan Church, who heads the New England chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
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