The Immigrant Defense Project has been closely monitoring ICE activity in state courts and has seen a significant escalation in ICE arrests of those attending court since the beginning of 2017. As leaders of the ICE Out of Courts Coalition, we are coordinating a campaign to get #ICEOutofCourts in New York State. Our statewide coalition of anti-violence advocates, public defenders, civil legal services providers, labor unions, and membership organizations are calling on the New York State government — the Chief Judge, the legislature, and the governor — to stop ICE from targeting immigrant New Yorkers in the courts.
The Protect Our Courts Act (New York State Bill A.11013/S.08925)
Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages and Senator Marisol Alcantara have introduced the Protect Our Courts Act, the most significant piece of state legislation in the country to protect access to justice for immigrant communities by imposing restrictions on civil immigration arrests of those attending court. Information about the bill and the bill text itself can be found at the links below.
- Bill text of the Protect Our Courts Act
- New York Protect Our Courts Act Model Legislation Guide
- FAQ, stories, and talking points regarding the Protect Our Courts Act
- Statistics on the Chilling Effect of ICE Courthouse Arrests
- IDP Protect Our Courts Act Press Release
- Op-Ed in City & State: New York Should Protect Its Courts from ICE (6/20/18)
- Statements of support for the Protect Our Courts Act:
ICE in NYS Courts – Legal Service and Advocates Survey
In June of 2017, a coalition of legal services and community based organizations sent out a survey to the field from June 12 – 23, to better understand these concerns. 225 advocates and attorneys from 31 counties across New York State participated. The participants work in criminal, family, housing, employment, education, and immigration law, and practice in criminal, family, and civil courts in New York State. Click here to view the results of the survey.
Letters sent to the Chief Judges of the New York State Court of Appeals
In 2017, the ICE Out of Courts Coalition sent the following letters to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks. The letters describe the increase in ICE activity in New York State courthouses over the preceding months, and outline the negative impacts that increased ICE activity has had on our communities. Both letters can be found below.
New York City Council Hearing
On June 29th, 2017, New York City Council Committees heard testimony on the increase presence of ICE in city courthouses, and the impact of this increased presence on their clients. IDP’s Andrew Wachtenheim testified at this city council hearing – a written copy of his testimony can be found below.
NY State Campaign Media:
- Queens DA Race Could Reshape NYC’s Immigration Enforcement (Documented, 10/15/18)
- Opinion: How ICE harms the justice system: The feds’ aggressive tactics in our courthouses are emboldening violent criminals (New York Daily News, 8/2/18)
- City Bar Calls on NY Chief Judge to Issue New Rules on ICE Courthouse Arrests (New York Law Journal, 7/16/18)
- Opinion: New York Should Protect Its Courts from ICE (City & State, 6/20/18)
- New bill calls for ICE to stop arresting immigrants at NY courts (PIX11, 6/5/18)
- Immigration advocates rally for ‘ICE-free courts’ as NY Assembly bill seeks limits on federal agents (amNY, 6/5/18)
- Presentan proyecto de ley que busca impedir arrestos de indocumentados en cortes de Nueva York (Univision, 6/5/18)
- Assembly Bill Would Ban ICE Agents From Courthouse Arrests (WNYC, 6/5/18)
- New York Could Institute Strongest Protections Against ICE Courthouse Arrests in US (Observer, 6/1/18)
- Judge urged to curb ICE arrests at New York State courts (New York Daily News, 5/9/18)
- Legisladores de Nueva York exigen a los agentes de ICE órdenes judiciales a la hora de realizar detenciones en cortes (Univision, 5/9/2018)
- Van en aumento los arrestos de ‘La Migra’ fuera de cortes de Nueva (el Diario, 5/8/2018)
- US denies some immigrants accused of crimes a day in court (The Washington Post, 5/10/2018
- Undocumented immigrant arrests surge inside and outside of NYC courthouses (New York Daily News, 5/2/18)
- ICE Breakers: Public Defenders are Standing Up for their Undocumented Clients in More Ways than One (The Indypendent, 4/26/18)
- ICE Age in the Courts (WNYC, 4/13/18)
- Lawyers Walk Out to Protest ICE, and Court Objects (The New York Times, 4/11/18)
Public Statements by New York State Officials:
- Speaker Corey Johnson, Immigration Committee Chair Carlos Menchaca, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Borough Presidents, and Council Members Send Letter to Chief Judge Janet DiFiore To Ban ICE from New York Courthouses (2/19/18)
- PA James, District Attorneys Calls on ICE to Rescind New Courthouse Arrest Policy (2/14/18)
- New York AG Eric Schneiderman And Acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez Call For ICE To End Immigration Enforcement Raids In State Courts
- Statement by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Re: Reports of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents Inside Human Trafficking Intervention Court (6/16/17)