May 23, 2018
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Boston Herald reports U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris. Staff file photo by Angela Rowlings.

A federal judge allowed two illegal immigrants to get married in her courtroom yesterday — paving the way for a ceremony that could have an effect on their immigration status down the line.

Chief Judge Patti Saris permitted Jaime Antonio Alvarez Figueroa and Tatiana Chavez Vanegas to get married at Boston’s U.S. District Court. Figueroa is in ICE custody and Vanegas has ongoing removal proceedings and is planning to seek asylum, according to court documents.

“Mr. Alvarez Figueroa cannot be included in her application unless they are married,” wrote Figueroa’s attorney, Kerry Doyle. “It is important for his immigration case because he will be granted derivative asylum status should Ms. Chavez Vanegas be granted asylum and for the family to have any chance of being able to remain together in the future.”

Doyle wrote that Vanegas received a marriage license from Boston, and that Rischall Sanchez — a paralegal for Doyle’s law firm — was granted a one-day license to “conduct a brief marriage ceremony.”

The couple was slated to be married before Figueroa was arrested by ICE in April 2017, according to Doyle’s motion. Figueroa was in the process of requesting permission to marry at the Plymouth County House of Correction, where he is being held at the behest of ICE, and would not be able to have the ceremony until Sept. 18, according to the motion.

“Because prisoners have the right to marry … and a delay of almost five months is unreasonable, this Court ALLOWS Petitioner’s motion for meeting to permit marriage,” Saris wrote in her order allowing the ceremony.

Federal prosecutors opposed the motion. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed that the ceremony occurred in Saris’ courtroom. Doyle did not respond to requests for comment.

In a separate ruling, Saris ordered ICE to transport Figueroa to all of his future hearings on pending criminal charges at Chelsea District Court. The Plymouth County sheriff was ordered to return Figueroa to ICE custody immediately at the conclusion of the hearings.

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