New York, NY-Today, Judge Jed S. Rakoff, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, declared Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) policy of courthouse arrests to be illegal and enjoined ICE from making arrests of anyone on the grounds of New York State courthouses or of anyone required to travel to a courthouse as a party or witness to a lawsuit. Judge Rakoff’s declaration comes after the New York Police Department (NYPD) admitted that ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents were protecting police precincts during protests following the murder of George Floyd.
After Judge Rakoff issued his decision, Steve Choi, the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement.
“ICE's increased presence in New York’s courthouses has undermined both public safety and our legal system, transforming our courts into another front in Trump’s campaign to terrorize immigrant communities. Like the stop and frisk policies of the NYPD, it represents another piece of the decades-long criminalization of people of color. As we celebrate today’s decision by Judge Rakoff declaring ICE arrests of people at New York Courthouses illegal, we call on the New York State Legislature to swiftly pass the Protect Our Courts Act.”
Last fall, the New York Immigration Coalition joined the Legal Aid Society and others on a lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction halting ICE courthouse enforcement. Since 2017, ICE courthouse arrests have skyrocketed by over 1700% in New York, leading to a widespread chilling effect on non-citizens’ willingness to initiate and participate in the judicial system.