There have been various media reports from around the country showing an increasing number of courthouse arrests of immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Under the Obama administration, official ICE policy was to avoid making arrests in sensitive locations, such as courthouses. The Trump administration rescinded this policy and have made many courthouse arrests of immigrants over the past few years. Local courts have complained that ICE enforcement in courthouses has deterred immigrants from coming to court on other matters.
Prosecutors in Massachusetts now have sued the federal government to block ICE agents from making arrests at courthouses. They claim that the threat of arrest by ICE and eventual deportation for immigrants suspected to have no legal immigration status makes it more difficult for them to prosecute these individuals for unrelated crimes and obtain justice for the victims of those crimes. Aside from defendants, witnesses and victims of crimes also are not appearing in court out of fear of arrest and deportation by ICE.
This issue came to a head recently when federal prosecutors in Massachusetts filed charges against a state court judge and court officers for obstruction of justice due to their roles in helping a man sneak out the back door of the courthouse to avoid an ICE agent.
Nor is Massachusetts the only state fighting back against the increasingly common practice. Earlier this year, New York state court officials banned immigration agents from entering courthouses without judicial warrants or orders.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration claims that ICE agents are targeting only immigrants who may pose a threat to public safety when they are in courthouses, and that is generally safer to make arrests in courthouses, as all individuals must go through metal detectors before entering. Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.