ICE courthouse arrests spike
SIGHTINGS OF ICE agents at courthouses across the state have surged from 11 last year to 110 this year, advocates say.
In 2016, the Immigrant Defense Project documented 11 arrests or attempted arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents around the state. This year the number has spiked by 900%, with most in New York City — including one arrest Tuesday in Brooklyn Criminal Court.
“The exponential increase in ICE courthouse arrests reflects a dangerous new era in enforcement and immigrant rights violations,” Immigrant Defense Project lawyer Lee Wang said. “Immigrants seeking justice in the criminal, family and civil courts should not have to fear for their freedom when doing so.”
The group’s analysis found 20% of the immigrants ICE arrested this year had no criminal convictions. Some were appearing in court for traffic violations before agents grabbed them. At least 16% were in court after getting tickets, meaning their offenses did not merit arrests. Arrests have occurred in family court and in one notorious case — at Queens Human Trafficking Court.
A spokeswoman said ICE complied with state guidelines and typically entered courthouses only after exhausting other options.