Immigrants, families, and advocates are celebrating a huge victory after the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) today announced new rules prohibiting ICE from arresting individuals in state courthouses without a judicial warrant or judicial order. Before this rule change, ICE often entered court buildings with only administrative ICE warrants and most often did not show any warrant at all. New York is the first state in the country to make this groundbreaking rule change.
The new rule comes after a two-year community campaign by the ICE Out of Courts Coalition pushing for court rules and legislation to keep ICE from laying in wait for immigrant survivors of violence, witnesses, defendants and family members in and around courthouses across New York. Just last week, the coalition renewed the call for court rules in an 80-page report measuring the harmful impact of ICE’s increased courthouse operations.
“For two years ICE has defied the calls from advocates, elected officials, and court practitioners–including judges, defenders and prosecutors–to stop using the courts to target immigrants,” said Immigrant Defense Project Acting Executive Director Mizue Aizeki. “Today OCA has taken a significant step towards recognizing the significant harms created by ICE’s presence in the courts. The next step is for Albany to pass the Protect Our Courts Act, to end ICE’s practice of arresting people as they are coming to and leaving court.”