New directive from ICE clarifies courtroom arrest policy

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-02 21:05:44-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has issued a new directive, outlining their process for arresting undocumented immigrants in courthouses.


In the directive, ICE claims that arrests in courthouses have become necessary because of the “unwillingness of jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the transfer of custody of aliens from their prisons and jails.”


But the directive does not just target undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions, it also allows for the arrest of people with deportation orders or “who have re-entered the country illegally after being removed.”


Immigration attorney, Stephanie Alcala, said it is a step forward that ICE has been transparent in their process but believes the policy is still too broad.


“It’s very difficult how to tell clients, yes, go forward, be witness in these criminal cases, do what you can to ensure yore community is safe. But oh, by the way, you might be removed in the process of doing that” she said.


A spokesperson for ICE would not provide how many arrests have been made in courthouses in San Diego County over the past few years, but said they were “infrequent.”


Alcala said she had only heard of one case that happened to another lawyer’s client.


Still, she worries it may deter undocumented victims from showing up to testify if they have removal orders against them.


“There are many people that have immigration violations in their history but are also victims of crimes or are testifying because they are victims of crimes,” she said.