ICE court­house ar­rests spike

New York Daily News - - NEWS - Stephen Rex Brown

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.

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