New York’s chief administrative judge, Lawrence Marks, told Albany lawmakers Tuesday that the state’s Office of Court Administration is considering steps to limit ICE officers from conducting civil immigration arrests inside courthouses — a practice criminal defense attorneys, their clients and prosecutors around the state have decried.
Marks reiterated the position of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore, who runs the entire state court system, saying ICE won’t be banned from entering courts in the first place. But he left open the possibility of prohibiting detentions in the absence of a judicial warrant.
ICE officers who intend to make an arrest typically carry ICE administrative warrants, which are legally non-binding warrants issued by an ICE supervisor as opposed to a federal judge. It is very rare for ICE deportation officers to actually obtain a judicial warrant for a detention target, so a policy requiring one would likely prevent most arrests happening now. Lawmakers have also introduced a bill that would attempt to ban ICE from entering courthouses altogether.
Documented reported over the weekend that internal OCA documents showed in some cases, court officers had coordinated with ICE prior to arrests. The Immigrant Defense Project released a report this week showing that such courthouse arrests greatly increased from 2017 to 2018.
Read more at The New York Law Journal
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Albany County Will Use ICE Funds for Immigrant Defense and Community Outreach
Using revenues from an agreement with the federal government to hold ICE detainees at the local county jail, Albany County legislators will hire a full-time immigration attorney for immigrants held at the jail and the surrounding immigrant community. Arrangements between local governments and immigration authorities have drawn controversy, but Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says he can best help detained immigrants by receiving them at his jail and granting attorneys full access. The attorney would be hired on one-year grant of $170,000 and would provide legal counsel, as well as train jail staff on providing support for detainees and organize sessions for low-income immigrants. The Times Union
Curran Criticized After Changing Course on ICE Facility
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was slammed by immigration activists Tuesday for reversing course on the eviction of ICE officials from a trailer at the county’s East Meadow jail. Controversy has bubbled since Curran decided late last year to ask the officers to leave without offering an alternate location, with Republicans and even President Donald Trump attacking her. Curran then said she’d let ICE relocate to the nearby Nassau University Medical Center, but received pushback from civil liberties groups who said it would discourage immigrants from seeking medical care. Now, she has decided to allow ICE to remain at its original location, prompting further protests. Newsday
Ragbir Checks in With ICE as Legal Fights Continue
On Monday morning, a crowd of supporters and elected officials joined New Sanctuary Coalition Executive Director Ravi Ragbir as he attended a check-in with ICE at 26 Federal Plaza. He was given a new check-in date for July. At a similar check-in a year ago, Ragbir was detained by ICE and put into a waiting ambulance after fainting, prompting frenzied demonstrations among supporters, who tried to stop the ambulance. The NYPD controversially helped federal agents clear the way for the ambulance and conducted several rough arrests, including of City Council members. This time, Ragbir was let out, but members of his entourage said DHS officials tried to prevent them from accompanying him to his appointment. Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) said she had to personally intervene, and would be looking into DHS’ actions. Ragbir is suing the government on a First Amendment case, and his deportation has been stayed by federal courts. Felipe De La Hoz for Documented
Shutdown Throws a Wrench Into Immigration Court System
The partial government shutdown that ended on Friday caused over 86,000 immigration court hearings to be cancelled nationwide, pushing the total court backlog to more than 800,000 cases overall and delaying some proceedings by years. The process of starting all the stopped processes back up on Monday didn’t go smoothly, as attorneys brought in boxes of legal filings that court clerks scrambled to properly categorize. Some courts lacked the necessary interpreters, forcing even some post-shutdown hearings to be rescheduled. Many non-detainee hearings scheduled for the shutdown are rescheduled for 2022 or 2023. Associated Press
First Asylum Seeker Returned to Mexico as Part of New Policy
After weeks of confusion about the federal government’s recently announced policy forcing asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their cases to be adjudicated, a single Honduran man became the first person returned to Mexico under the program Tuesday. The 55-year-old had arrived in Mexico as part of the latest caravan of Central American migrants to make its way toward the U.S. border. He appeared confused and was not able to answer any questions about his situation, but officials said he was being taken to a migrant shelter to await his court dates in the U.S. The policy is almost certain to face legal challenges. The San Diego Union-Tribune
More Immigrants in Sanctuary Churches Nationwide
The number of immigrants known to be in sanctuary in churches has now reached 50, spread out over 39 churches around the country. It is likely this number is higher, as some people have preferred to keep their cases private. Over 1100 congregations have now offered to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. Federal immigration authorities have internal policies limiting enforcement in sensitive locations such as hospitals and churches, making this a viable way of staving off deportation until an asylum case or other immigration proceeding can proceed through the legal system. Voice of America
School District Steps In to Help Children of Vulnerable Immigrants
After ICE raided a trailer-manufacturing plant in Texas and detained several undocumented immigrants, the local school district has stepped in to provide support and services for the children of those detained. The district not only provided counselors and individualized guidance to students, but collected and distributed financial support, and even had the local high school principal and superintendent accompany families to immigration court appearances. The superintendent said it’s his responsibility to ensure children can continue their education and receive community support despite the circumstances. The Hechinger Report
Pennsylvania Also Facing ICE Arrests in Courts
According to a report published by Temple University Law School’s Sheller Center for Social Justice, Pennsylvania court personnel and judges have shared information with federal immigration authorities in order to facilitate arrests in courthouses. According to their analysis, ICE had conducted courthouse arrests in nearly one-fifth of all of the state’s counties since 2017. The arrests have taken place in criminal courts and even courts that handle mundane proceedings like traffic tickets and landlord-tenant disputes. Some judges in criminal courts were also alleged to have openly asked Latino defendants about their immigration status. WHYY
Washington — Trump’s Nonsensical Statistics, Border Security Negotiations
On Sunday, President Trump tweeted hyper-specific figures supposedly pertaining to the numbers of undocumented immigrants in the country and the “cost” of illegal immigration. The problem is that no one is altogether sure where the numbers came from. For example, the president said that there were “at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens” in the country, which is more than double generally accepted estimates on the matter. At least some similar statistics were floated by the right-wing One America News Network, but ultimately it’s not totally clear where his information came from. The Washington Post
Now that the government has reopened and Trump all but conceded on his demands for billions of dollars in border funding, the notion that a compromise including that kind of money for border enforcement will ever be reached seems very unlikely. Returning lawmakers from both sides on the Hill downplayed the possibility that any broad immigration reform will be reached anytime soon, as Republicans and Democrats are generally at an impasse when it comes to immigration priorities. A permanent solution for current DACA holders is probably first on the list, but multiple attempts to work out a deal since Trump attempted to end the program have failed so far. CNN
For his part, the president is dangling the possibility of another government shutdown once the provisional funding runs out on Feb. 15. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said the president was perfectly willing to take that drastic step if unsatisfied with a budget deal, which in this case likely means any deal that doesn’t ultimately include the full $5.7 billion for a wall that the president has so far demanded. Associated Press