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Practical Tips for Defenders on ICE at Courts

Download IDP resource “Practical Tips for Defenders on ICE at Courts,” IDP’s free guide, updated in July 2019, gives practical suggestions for supporting clients if ICE agents show up to detain them in court.

For years, Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) received periodic but infrequent reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detaining unsuspecting people appearing in local Criminal Courts. However, since February, as I’m sure you’ve seen in the news, it is clear that ICE has been increasing its presence in and around New York’s courthouses. We have seen a spike in ICE arrests at Criminal Courts and, for the first time last month, we confirmed that ICE detained an individual in Family Court.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has stated that they plan to continue the use of this troubling tactic, which drives vulnerable people away from the justice system, including witnesses; those seeking a court’s protection or support; and those fighting charges. It undermines a core mission of courts to provide equal access to justice but also functionally can prevent an individual from being able to resolve a pending matter.

So, IDP is fighting back! In addition to broader advocacy challenging the practice of courthouse arrests, we are pleased to announce that we have created a written resource to help defense attorneys protect immigrant clients facing ICE in court. IDP’s free 2-page guide can easily be carried on a daily basis and gives practical suggestions for supporting clients if ICE agents show up to detain them in court.

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With a year marked by hateful and divisive policies behind us, IDP continues to look towards the future in the fight for immigrants' rights.

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