A Guatemalan immigrant married to a pregnant US citizen was released from detention Friday, nearly three months after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested him at Chelsea District Court, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.
Samuel Pensamiento, 26, was set free from Plymouth County Correctional Facility with a GPS monitor for 30 days, pending the hearing of a suit the ACLU filed against the US government. The suit was filed after ICE arrested him Jan. 31 as he left a preliminary hearing for two misdemeanor charges arising from a December traffic accident.
ACLU attorney Adriana Lafaille, who represents Pensamiento, said she is relieved that he has been allowed to return home to his wife, who is due to give birth to their first child in early May.
"Mr. Pensamiento is someone who should be home supporting his family, taking care of his child," Lafaille said.
Immigration and civil rights organizations say federal authorities have increased arrests at courthouses under President Trump, whose hard-line immigration policies have caused fear and suspicion among immigrant groups.
The ACLU and other groups have filed lawsuits seeking to block the courthouse arrests, which Northeastern University's Immigrant Justice Clinic says have disrupted the state's court systems.
"This case is really about access to justice," Lafaille said. "Mr. Pensamiento was one of so many people detained at a courthouse on misdemeanor charges and had his whole life railroaded and was not even able to go back to court to address those charges."
ICE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. Last month, ICE spokesman John Mohan said that the agency's practice of engaging in enforcement activities at courthouses is "wholly consistent with longstanding law enforcement practices nationwide."
Lafaille said Pensamiento entered the United States illegally when he fled Guatemala in 2013 after police in that country tried to force him to sell drugs and beat him when he refused.