Attorney warns there's 'growing concern' in state's legal community due to ICE arrests
A local attorney says there's "growing concern" in the state's legal community due to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arresting undocumented residents at Connecticut courthouses.
"It's happening now in Bridgeport, it's happening in Waterbury, it's happening in Stamford. In a lot of the major cities here in Connecticut, we're seeing customs officers making a full court press to arrest folks for very minor offenses," says Dennis Bradley.
He goes on to say that, "It's been creating a chilling effect throughout the community, where now people are simply getting failures to appear, not showing up at all to court."
ICE officials released the following statement to News 12 Connecticut:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immigration officers are permitted to carry out civil immigration enforcement actions in or near a courthouse in certain limited circumstances, to include matters of national security; the imminent risk of death, violence, or physical harm to any person; the hot pursuit of an individual who poses a threat to public safety; or if there is an imminent risk of destruction of evidence material to a criminal case.
ICE officers are also permitted to execute a civil immigration enforcement action in or near a courthouse for public safety threats when a safe alternative location does not exist or it would be too difficult to achieve the enforcement action at such a location.
The men and women of ICE work diligently every day supporting the agency's mandate to pursue civil immigration priority cases. Accordingly, individuals posing public safety threats to our community are often subject to local criminal proceedings, and in some cases, areas in proximity to a courthouse represent the safest location to conduct an enforcement action. However, the arrests Mr. Krasner appears to be referring to occur at adjacent buildings which are not a part of the courthouse and/or are not used for court-related business which fall outside the scope of the "Civil Enforcement Actions in or near Courthouses."
The "Civil Enforcement Actions in or near Courthouses" and "Guidelines for Enforcement Actions in or near Protected Areas" memorandums are separate policy documents, ERO Philadelphia adheres to both policies. ERO Philadelphia manages cases through the lens of the "Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law" as well, which requires a thorough review of each case for both aggravating and mitigating factors to better target ERO Philadelphia's limited resources on those individuals who are a threat to national security, public safety, or border security. While the City of Philadelphia and ERO Philadelphia may disagree on the application of immigration laws in our communities, ERO Philadelphia looks forward to conversations with the City on methods to better enforce our laws in a complimentary manner.