In one instance, a defense lawyer fought to keep her client in a New York City jail, just to keep him away from ICE.
That case involves Teddy Irving, who went to court to fight a felony charge, a deportable offense. After the judge said Irving was free to go, the defendant’s attorney fought for the judge to set bail and have Irving taken into custody. In the courthouse, were two plainclothes ICE agents who had tried to detain Irving in the hallways of the court.
Eventually, the judge allowed Irving to be taken into custody.
Arrests of illegal immigrants by ICE agents at court houses are rising according to defense lawyers and advocates.
In 2014, New York City and other municipalities passed laws that hindered law enforcement from cooperating with ICE. For example, the city no longer holds people for up to 48 hours after their release date until ICE agents could determine their immigration status.
This measure forced ICE to set its sights on court houses. According to immigration advocates, ICE often targets illegal immigrants who made deportable offenses decades ago or those who have committed minor crimes such as petty larceny.
"ICE is picking people up at the courthouse for things they did maybe 30 years ago, where they now have kids, they have a family here, they're completely rehabilitated and have full-time jobs, and none of that is being taken into consideration by ICE," said Brooklyn Defender Services Sarah Vendzules in an interview with VICE.
ICE now is barred from obtaining information about “non-citizens” from the NYPD or DOC without a judicial warrant. So, they are now looking at court rolls and other sources to find potential offenders fit for deportation.