• February 26, 2024

Biden Administration Limits Power Of ICE To Arrest Immigrants In Courthouses : NPR

Protesters in Baltimore are calling for the abolition of the ICE in 2019. Tommy Gilligan / AP hide captions

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Tommy Gilligan / AP

Protesters in Baltimore are calling for the ICE to be abolished in 2019.

Tommy Gilligan / AP

In yet another reversal of the Trump administration’s immigration policy, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that federal agents would no longer be allowed to arrest people in or near courthouses for most immigration violations.

In one statementDHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said such arrests affected the administration of justice and public safety. “The expansion of civil immigration arrests in courthouses during the previous administration had a terrifying effect on individuals’ willingness to go to court or to cooperate with law enforcement,” Mayorkas said.

Feds formalize plan to prosecute certain undocumented immigrants in courthouses

The previous guideline, formalized in 2018, authorized ICE to enter federal, state and local courthouses to arrest individuals who were present for reasons unrelated to their immigration status. Witnesses in legal proceedings, individuals seeking judicial protection from abusive partners, and others prosecuting civil civil suits were among the individuals seized by federal agents.

In one common case In 2017, ICE agents arrested a woman in a courthouse in El Paso, Texas, shortly after receiving a protection warrant against an allegedly abusive partner. An attorney for the victim who had escorted her to appear in court said an ICE agent was in the warrant’s courtroom, two more guarded each exit door, and other agents staked out the 10th floor of the courthouse.

ICE holds suspected domestic abuse victim in Texas courthouse

The policy applies to agents working for U.S. Immigration and Customs and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, both of which are covered by DHS. According to the DHS, arrests in or near courthouses are only permitted if “(1) it is a matter of national security, (2) there is an imminent threat of death, violence or physical harm to a person, (3) there is a matter of prosecuting a person who poses a threat to public safety; or (4) there is an imminent risk of evidence being destroyed in criminal proceedings.

Biden’s government is realigning the way the government enforces immigration violations. Like the Trump administration, it focuses on those who pose a threat to public safety, but has largely stopped the indiscriminate arrest of people in the country in one major change.

The policy change came on the day President Biden named a vocal critic of Trump’s immigration policy as director of the ICE: Harris County, Texas, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. As the sheriff of Harris County, which also includes Houston, Gonzalez completed a program with ICE that trained sheriff deputies to screen inmates for immigration status.


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