Friday, May 5, 2017

ICE keeps arresting suspects inside NJ courthouses

Matt Katz reports for NJ Spotlight:

ICE's presence in courthouses may deter witnesses, victims, and defendants from showing up to testify — making everyone less safe

 NJ Chief Justice Stuart Rabner,

New Jersey's top judge asked Trump administration officials last month to stop arresting immigrants inside courthouses.

Now he has their response: No way.

As recently as last week, armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in plainclothes arrested an undocumented immigrant at the Middlesex County courthouse, Sheriff Mildred Scott told WNYC. The man was free to go — except right then, immigration agents stepped in and detained him on an undisclosed charge.

That arrest came a week after Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner pleaded with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to add courthouses to a list of "sensitive locations" that ICE avoids. Rabner wrote that "serious consequences" could result if immigrants fear that coming to court could lead to deportation. Rabner argued that witnesses, victims, and defendants may not show up to testify — making everyone less safe.

Before Trump gave ICE more discretion to arrest undocumented immigrants, attorneys say, federal agents never slipped into court to make arrests.

Rabner, the chief justice, declined to comment about federal officials ignoring his request to cease these courthouse operations.

Read the full story here 

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