You can help protect access to justice by telling the Office of Court Administration to Keep ICE Out
Across New York State from 2016 to 2017 there has been a 1200% increase in arrests or attempted arrests by agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in and around courthouses, according to the Immigrant Defense Project. This increased ICE activity occurred in a variety of courts including family court, traffic court, and specialized courts. Among those arrested have been people with no prior criminal record and in some instances people with a valid green card or who are in this country with a valid visa. Approximately two-thirds of these arrests took place in New York City courts.
The presence of ICE agents in our courthouses is a barrier to justice for victims of crime who now fear that if they attend to business with the courts they may be arrested by ICE. This includes people seeking orders of protection, human trafficking victims and people who want to testify in a case.
We believe that everyone has the basic human right to live a life free of violence. We believe that everyone has the basic right to seek justice without fear.
If you believe as we do that ICE agents should not conduct business in our courthouses without a judicial warrant or court order, please sign our letter below.
Dear Chief Judge Janet DiFiore,
We are writing to request the Office of Court Administration (OCA) develop new court rules regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) presence and enforcement in New York State Courts.
For many crime victims, the courts are the only venue to seek orders of protection or to testify against an assailant who has harmed them. The presence of ICE agents in courthouses creates an environment where people attending to matters before the courts are now afraid to seek justice.
Immigration enforcement activities in New York courthouses undermines the fundamental right of equal protection under the law and deprives liberty and justice to crime victims. We request that you adopt a policy that prohibits ICE agents from conducting arrests or raids at courthouses, without a judicial warrant or court order. All people deserve the basic right to seek justice without fear.