As the Trump administration continues its efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, many legal battles have been playing out in Massachusetts courts. Recently, a federal court in Boston began hearing arguments over the enforcement activities of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

At issue is a policy under which ICE has been targeting and arresting undocumented immigrants when they show up in Massachusetts courts. The federal government argues that the policy is only used in criminal courts, and only against people who have criminal convictions and pose a public safety or national security risk.

Opponents say this is not true. They argue that ICE has used the policy to arrest undocumented immigrants when they report to court to serve as witnesses or carry out some important court business. Moreover, they argue that while the people targeted under this policy may have criminal backgrounds, most of these involve minor crimes, and most do not have warrants out for their arrest.

Opponents of the policy say that, by threatening immigrants with arrest and possible deportation if they show up to court, the federal government is discouraging undocumented immigrants from reporting crimes, and otherwise harming the public good.

Advocates for immigrants say they have documented more than 100 arrests by ICE at Massachusetts courthouses over the past 12 months.

In today’s heated political atmosphere, it is more important than ever that people seek out skilled legal help for their issues in immigration law, especially if there are any criminal charges involved. Immigrants should understand their rights and their legal options, and they should have a professional who can represent them and argue on their behalf.