ICE Issues New Policies on Courthouse Immigration Raids
The Associated Press recently reported that federal immigration authorities have finalized policies regarding courthouse immigration raids. The Trump administration has formalized its practice of sending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents into courthouse to arrested undocumented immigrants, even as judges and immigration advocacy groups have complained that the practice creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear for victims of crime, witnesses, and individuals seeking relief from the court system. Court officials, including the California Supreme Court Justice Chief, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, have asked ICE to avoid courthouses, citing the need for justice and legal access for all individuals, regardless of their immigration status.
The two-page ICE memo states that ICE agents only will enter courthouses when they are targeted specific immigrants, such as those convicted of a crime, gang members, and individuals who previously have been deported. While the memo indicates that ICE generally will not detain family, friends, and witnesses of the targeted immigrants, it creates an exception for “special circumstances” that might necessitate their arrests, as well. The policy also states that ICE agents generally should avoid making arrests in non-criminal areas of the court, such as family court and small claims court.
The memo also cites the unwillingness of some jurisdictions, including various California cities, to cooperate with immigration agents as justification for their intrusion into courthouses, which are traditionally “safe” places for everyone. This was clearly a jab directed at sanctuary cities, whom the Trump administration has been targeting with increased immigration enforcement efforts. ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan also stated that he believed criminal courthouse arrests to be safer for ICE agents due to security measures in courthouses, such as metal detectors.
No matter your situation, Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is an Oakland immigration law firm who has dedicated its practice to protecting the interests of immigrants who are facing deportation. Whether you are potentially deportable due to a visa overstay or a lack of valid immigration status, we can help. We are prepared to build the strongest case possible in order to defend you against deportation. Contact us today to set up your legal consultation and discover what assistance we can offer to you and your family.