ICE Defends Courthouse Arrests of Criminal Aliens

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is once again being criticized for arresting illegal aliens at the courthouse.

The latest incident involves a DACA recipient who was caught drinking and driving in New Jersey.  It comes one year after the highly publicized arrest of a transgender woman who filed a domestic complaint in an El Paso courthouse.  She too was a DACA recipient.

“It turned out that this person had multiple convictions for fraud and embezzlement and had been a real problem, that's why ICE was targeting this person,” says Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.

She says ICE agents don't just go into family court, they're targeting known criminal aliens.

“This is not the ideal way to do immigration law enforcement, but it's the situation ICE has been put in by jurisdictions that enact sanctuary policies.”

However, Vaughan says the courthouse is a sensible location to make an arrest.

“They typically know a time frame when the person is going to be there, but also courthouses are secure buildings where people are screened for weapons, so it is likely to be safer for ICE to make an arrest there.”

ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa issued a statement saying, “ICE, like other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, makes arrests at courthouses to ensure the laws within the agency’s jurisdiction are enforced in a safe and efficient manner.

“ICE arrests at courthouses are the result of targeted enforcement actions against specific aliens. As with all planned enforcement actions, ICE officers exercise sound judgment when enforcing federal law and make substantial efforts to avoid unnecessarily alarming the public. Consistent with officer and public safety, ICE officers also make every effort to limit the time spent at the planned place of arrest.”

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