Washington sues feds over courthouse immigration arrests

National

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, center, speaks as King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, left, and Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim look on during a news conference about Ferguson’s lawsuit challenging a Trump Administration practice of ICE arrests at courthouses Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Seattle. Washington state has sued the Trump administration over its practice of arresting people at courthouses for immigration violations, saying it interferes with the state’s authority to run its own judicial system. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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SEATTLE (AP) — Washington state has sued the Trump administration over its practice of arresting people at courthouses for immigration violations, saying it interferes with the state’s authority to run its judicial system.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. It says when Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents patrol courthouse hallways and parking lots it deters crime victims and witnesses from testifying and interferes with criminal prosecutions.

A similar lawsuit by prosecutors in Massachusetts has resulted in a preliminary court order blocking immigration agents from making civil arrests at courthouses there. The administration has appealed that order.

The University of Washington’s Center for Human Rights said in a report in October that it had documented 51 reported immigration arrests at courthouses in the state since 2016. The researchers said they believe many more arrests have happened, but that it has been difficult to document them because ICE refused to release the information.

The Washington Supreme Court has also asked federal immigration authorities to stop making courthouse arrests.

Ferguson scheduled a news conference to discuss the case.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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