ALBANY — New York lawmakers are giving ICE the cold shoulder.
The state Legislature approved a measure Wednesday that bars Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from making civil arrests in and around state courthouses without a judicial warrant or a court order.
Supporters said the legislation, known as the Protect Our Courts Act, is a response to a reported uptick in courthouse arrests of undocumented immigrants since President Trump took office.
“We cannot allow our courthouses to become a hunting ground for federal agents attempting to round up immigrant New Yorkers,” said sponsor Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). “Already, ICE arrests in or around courthouses in New York have spiked by 1,700% since Donald Trump took office.”
Assembly member Michaelle Solages (D-L.I.), who sponsored the measure in her chamber, said the actions of ICE agents have had a chilling effect on undocumented immigrants who were witnesses or victims of a crime.
“We have seen Federal ICE agents make a concerted effort to use courthouses as a means of entrapment, which in turn has created a hostile environment for individuals seeking recourse from New York courts,” she said.
The move comes a month after a federal judge ruled ICE arrests at courthouses in the state are illegal. The legislation will essentially codify the ruling, which blocked federal agents from arresting anyone on the grounds of state courthouses or traveling to a courthouse without a judicial warrant. ICE agents often use so-called administrative warrants when arresting people, into law.
Advocates applauded the passage and called on Gov. Cuomo, who signaled support for the measure back in April, to sign the bill into law.
“Over the past few years, ICE has repeatedly sent a clear message that it would stop at nothing to achieve its cruel, dehumanizing and destructive criminalizing and deportation agenda,” said Mizue Aizeki, deputy director of the Immigrant Defense Project. “In response to our coalition’s work documenting and illustrating the devastating impacts of ICE’s activities, New York’s courts and legislature have taken decisive action to protect our rights.”
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