Despite judges and officials in at least three states and one city (California, Washington, New Jersey, and Denver) specifically asking ICE to refrain from conducting immigration enforcement actions inside and around courthouses, agents are continuing to do so — curtailing immigrants’ access to legal institutions and causing harm to public safety, while sometimes refusing to identify themselves or provide warrants.
As the ACLU has noted, there have been increasing numbers of reports this year that ICE agents are staking out people at courthouses. As they wrote, “a Texas domestic violence survivor was arrested when she went to court to obtain a restraining order, and so were a Michigan father in court to seek custody of his children, a Brooklyn father in court for a child support hearing, and a Vermont dairy worker arrested before he could appear for his court hearing.” The New York Times recently wrote about a man who was the victim of a crime, who was arrested by ICE after he showed up in court as his girlfriend screamed at his attorney, “Why did you let this happen? Why didn’t you tell us?”
As California Supreme Court Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye wrote in a March 16 letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions:
Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness, but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice.
Below, view two videos of people being arrested by ICE in Denver. The first is from April 28, of a man in court for a traffic case, who was arrested while he screams for help in Spanish and begs the officers to stop hurting his hand. The second video is from May 5, and involves a man being arrested after coming to court for a misdemeanor case. An attorney asks the ICE officers for a warrant as they leave, but the officers refuse to provide it; the attorney then asks for the officers’ names and badge numbers, which they also refuse to provide, instead referring to the ICE public information phone number.