NY State Courts Seek to Block ICE Arrests in Court

Queens Court Kew Gardens

New York State’s Office of Court Administration (OCA) has become increasingly concerned about ICE arresting immigrants in courthouses around the country. The OCA has released its guidelines for dealing with ICE entering courts to arrest people. The policies dat to April 27, 2017. Here is a summary of the protocols:

  • law enforcement agents identify themselves to court officers upon entry to a courthouse and state their “specific law enforcement purpose”
  • court officers are then supposed to notify a supervisor, who is then supposed to inform the judge of the agents’ presence (note: nothing about notifying attorneys)
  • law enforcement agents are prohibited from taking “law enforcement action….in a courtroom,” but the protocol doesn’t speak to what happens outside of the courtroom
  • court officers have to file an “unusual occurrence report” for each “law enforcement action” taken in the courthouse.

Thus far these have not blocked ICE using various courts as a place to capture immigrants. The courts need to take stronger action or immigrants will lose trust in the court system.


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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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