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ICE Targets Unauthorized Immigrants Attending Court, Caught in ‘Collateral Arrests’

by Countable | 2.5.18

What’s the story?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has formalized a policy to send agents into federal, state, and local courthouses to make arrests.

Meanwhile, lawyers in California are raising concerns about "collateral arrests"—the Trump administration’s term for unauthorized immigrants who are not original targets but are swept up during law enforcement actions.

Court Arrests

As Reuters summarized, "under the new guidelines ICE will continue to target immigrants in the country illegally at courthouses but would avoid arresting their friends and family members unless they pose a threat to public safety or interfere with ICE actions."

In a not-so-subtle jab against "sanctuary cities," ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan wrote in the directive that:

"Courthouse arrests are often necessitated by the unwillingness of jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the transfer of custody of aliens from their prisons and jails."

The policy dismisses complaints from judges and advocacy groups who claim the arrests deter attendance at hearings and discourage witnesses from testifying.

"A growing number of victims have expressed reluctance to move forward with criminal prosecutions due to fear of being deported," New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement in August.

Collateral Arrests

Under the Obama administration, unauthorized immigrants convicted of crimes were prioritized for deportations. In February 2017, the Department of Homeland Security issued memorandums that stripped all deportation priorities.

"Since then," the L.A. Times reported, “immigrants have been arrested while accompanying family members to ICE check-ins, waiting with co-workers for rides to work and sleeping in the same home as a law enforcement target.”

Lawyers and advocates told the paper that the "arrest everyone first, ask questions later" approach amounts to racial profiling and violates immigrants’ rights.

Eva Bitran, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who is representing someone caught up in a collateral raid, told the Times:

"The worry is that worksite raids have already increased in frequency and will continue to do so; that collateral arrests will continue to increase…; and that in their haste to carry out this policy of renewed worksite raids, ICE officers will disregard the law."

Homan, the acting ICE director, said in October that given California’s sanctuary laws, "ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community."

What do you think?

Do you support ICE raids on courthouses? What about collateral arrests? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(170)
  • Amy
    02/05/2018
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    As a young Jewish woman who grew up hearing Holocaust survivors’ stories, reading about these kinds of discriminatory arrests and mistreatment of minority communities taking place in the United States of America in 2018 is absolutely horrifying. The stories in newspapers today are eerily reminiscent of those from late 20s and early 30s Germany. History tells us what will happen if we don’t act to stop this now and work hard to fix the divides in our country. America is worth it.

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  • Michael.J.L
    02/05/2018
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    ICE has become the Trump SS.

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/05/2018
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    Trumps America is a White supremacy backed police state.

    Like (92)
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  • Robert
    02/05/2018
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    They need to check president Trump‘s papers I heard he was born in Kenya

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  • Lisan
    02/05/2018
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    If someone committed a crime against you, and there was a witness, would you want that witness to come forward regardless of their immigration status? I certainly would. I am concerned that this policy will deter witnesses from coming forward.

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  • OlderNWiser
    02/06/2018
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    This country was stolen from the First Nations and Mexicans who lived here by immigrants from Europe. ICE is targeting brown people while # 45 and his minions demonize all people of color. This is so eerily reminiscent of Hitler’s Gestapo it makes me ill. My husband was locked up in a camp in the desert at 8 years old. for being born Asian-American in Salinas, CA. My PTSD client was pulled out of his store and dumped in the desert with no idea where he was, no way to reach his wife and children, and barely survived needing 3 years to return. Human beings matter. Borders and papers are man-made technicalities. We are a nation of immigrants so this is hypocrisy beyond belief from a corrupt and hateful white supremacist. UnAmerican.!

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  • Countryfirst
    02/05/2018
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    What American wants to see the " arrest everyone and sort it out later" approach..Gestapo here we come.

    Like (48)
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  • Jim2423
    02/05/2018
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    There is no discrimination issues with this. Most illegal immigrants have had plenty of time to become citizens. If you snooze you loose. Any other country if you don’t keep up with visitor documentation you are escorted out when caught. Why should we be any different?

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  • Robert
    02/05/2018
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    This is not the America I know. This America under Trump is becoming unwelcoming, xenophobic, hateful, nationalistic, and cruel. While touting law and order, he violates the due process rights of others, bullies those he devalues, and distorts the truth. His values include money and personal power. He and his policies are the opposite of American values.

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  • Alex
    02/05/2018
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    It’s about time the law is enforced.

    Like (33)
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  • Larry
    02/05/2018
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    Sorry - if they’re not here legally then express line back to where they came from. Tired of my tax dollars paying for these leaches

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  • John
    02/05/2018
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    ICE seems to be stepping beyond their boundaries for arresting illegal immigrants. Can’t they find these people on their own, or are they so inept that they have to hang out in courtrooms looking for likely suspects? This smacks of police state actions and is very troubling.

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  • William
    02/05/2018
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    Why does the ACLU or anyone think that an illegal immigrant has any rights at all that are granted to someone who has gone through the process of becoming a US citizens

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  • Marty
    02/05/2018
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    They need to start pushing on deportations. If they cannot produce documentation by the government of legally being here get them wherever you can. They are criminals with no rights but the right to be deported. Be it,Courthouses, statehouse’s,schools, hospitals and churches. No havens for them save their country.

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  • Khrysten
    02/05/2018
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    “Formalized policy” this better get shutdown and fast! I am a UNITED STATES CITIZEN I am a tax payer and what this proposes is absolutely horrendous! We as in any human life that has foot on this soil should feel free to walk into our court houses without the fear of a thug regime! We need witnesses in this country to aid in arrests of the actual bad people that our officers are trying to obtain! This has gone far enough with ICE over stepping boundaries and gaining unnecessary authority! I will rally against this and get more supporters to mobilize against all that approve this henchman policy!!!!

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  • Jennifer
    02/06/2018
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    This is the law of unintended consequences. Sanctuary policies have created this situation. ICE would be just focusing on the criminals that should be held on detainers and limited to being picked up at the jails. So the Sanctuary cities forced the federal government’s hand—not a State’s right—as immigration issues are ENTIRELY under their jurisdiction! Now these Cities/States must deal with the problem they caused for the persons caught up in collateral arrests. Maybe they should have thought this through a little better. But don’t blame ICE for doing their jobs—one’s they took an oath to do.

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  • Aaron
    02/05/2018
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    Blanket targeting of undocumented residents at court makes our country less safe and hampers law enforcement efforts to fight crime. ICE should focus on deporting dangerous individuals first.

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  • Dave
    02/05/2018
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    Sort of like a drug bust during a traffic stop. ICE should Use every opportunity to enforce the law, preferably in a target rich environment.

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  • Azrael
    02/05/2018
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    Is this still the United States of america? Do we still have a constitution?

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  • Cherlyn
    02/05/2018
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    ICE is becoming akin to Germany’s Gestapo It is the only law enforcement agency that i actually no longer respect. To round up people collaterally at courts and ask questions later even when judges protest is just wrong especially as a matter of policy. They were doing that in Houston and a judge in court discovered that part of that collateral damage of “illegal aliens “ they thought they were rounding up and hauling off to jail were actually American citizens born in Houston, Tx. but the ICE agents did not want to bother checking to find that out before hauling them off. That is absolutely unacceptable. and I am a Republican woman and am fed up with these Gestapo tactics. I also want a clean bill supporting a path to citizenship for the dreamers or DACA young people. We need them. they contribute and are productive and are good workers smart and help are GDP and growth and businesses and future economy. They are basically Americans. And they should not be kept as workers only in what would amount to be a subclass slavery. There should be a one time path to citizenship. Be done with it.

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