Prosecutors Sue Federal Government Over ICE Courthouse Arrests

By Peek & Toland on July 19, 2019

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 The Trump administration rescinded this policy and have made many courthouse arrests of immigrants over the past few years.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.

Prosecutors Sue Federal Government Over ICE Courthouse Arrests

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.

Posted in Immigration

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Prosecutors May Be Defending Immigrants From Deportation over Minor Crimes

By Peek & Toland on November 6, 2017

Prosecutors have plenty of discretion when they negotiate plea deals. While we often believe they want to hit defendants with the highest sentence possible, this is not always the case. A recent study suggested some prosecutors are defending immigrants from possible deportation.

A recent report on NPR suggested prosecutors in several U.S. cities are using their discretion to protect defendants who are immigrants from possible deportation down the line.

NPR spoke to Brooklyn prosecutor Eric Gonzalez. He still recalls the case of a legal permanent resident from Haiti who was arrested on a trespassing charge. Police also discovered a small amount of cocaine on him.

Prosecutors are defending immigrants

Prosecutors are defending immigrants in some places

He did not plead to the trespass charge but he admitted the drugs charge. The Haitian was sentenced to community service. He stayed out ad trouble and was able to hold down two jobs.

However, the old plea deal proved his undoing when he returned to Haiti in 2010 to check on his family after the massive earthquake. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials noticed his drug conviction on his return. ICE put him in deportation proceedings a decade after his plea deal.

Gonzales told NPR the immigrant would not have been deported if he had pled guilty to the trespassing charge.

Gonzalez is the acting district attorney in Brooklyn. The state’s first Hispanic district attorney warns immigrants face a form of double jeopardy and can end up deported years after serving their sentences on criminal charges.

He’s one of group of prosecutors who are defending immigrants future interests. He instructed his staff of about 500 prosecutors to consider the immigration status of a defendant when negotiating plea deals for relatively minor nonviolent offenses.

The NPR report said prosecutors in Baltimore have also been instructed to consider the collateral consequences of prosecuting immigrants for minor misdemeanors.

Attorney General Jeff Session has attacked prosecutors for defending immigrants by avoiding plea deals which may later lead to deportations.

Sessions said:

“It troubles me that we’ve seen district attorneys openly brag about not charging cases appropriately under the laws of our country so that – provides an opportunity for individuals not to be convicted of a crime that might lead to deportation.”

At Peek & Toland , we have successfully fought many removal actions. See our cancellation of removal resources here.

If you or a loved one is concerned a past criminal conviction will lead to deportation, please contact our experienced Texas cancellation of removal lawyers at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Cancellation of Removal, Criminal Defense, Immigration

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