Federal Court Issues Injunction Blocking ICE Arrests in NY Courts

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The Federal District Court for the Southern District issued an injunction blocking ICE from making arrests at New York courthouses. The lawsuit had been brought by New York Attorney General Tish James in response to widespread violations of state courthouse properties by ICE. Arrests had occurred around the country at civil courts, family courts, landlord/tenant courts,  domestic violence and even human trafficking courts. The danger of arrest led many immigrants to avoid the courts. According to Judge Jed Rackoff; “Recent events confirm the need for freely and fully
functioning state courts, not least in the State of New York. But it is one thing for the state courts to try to deal with the impediments brought on by a pandemic, and quite another for them to have to grapple with disruptions and intimidations artificially imposed by an agency of the federal government in violation of long-standing privileges and fundamental principles of federalism and of separation of powers.”

The judge wrote:

“For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment with respect to Counts One and Two, and, as a direct result, is obliged to also grant plaintiffs’ requested injunctive and declaratory relief. Specifically, the Court declares ICE’s policy of courthouse arrests, as now embodied in the Directive, to be illegal, and hereby enjoins ICE from conducting any civil arrests on the premises or grounds of New York State courthouses, as well as such arrests of anyone required to travel to a New York State courthouse as a party or witness to a lawsuit.”

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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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