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Immigration law enforcers arresting immigrants at courthouses

Advocates of sanctuary cities are requesting that the judicial system in New York consider making it illegal for federal immigration agents to make arrests on courthouse property. Alternatively, they would at least like it to be mandatory for immigration law defendants to be alerted when deportation agents are inside a courtroom. According to these advocates, the court system in New York is not doing enough to protect immigrants from detention when they arrive at court to address criminal cases that are separate from their immigration cases.

According to advocates, the issue has become more urgent to address due to the current presidential administration's pledge to step up enforcement against immigration that is not legal. The administration has also vowed to place increased focus on legal immigrants who are convicted or suspected of crimes. Since the start of the current presidential administration, a minimum of 19 immigrants have been taken into custody from New York City courthouse property.

Back in 2016, only eight immigrant arrests took place on courthouse property in the Big Apple. Meanwhile, that number was 11 in 2015. According to the Legal Aid Society, to bring the number of arrests back down, the cooperation of both the court officers' union and the court system would be necessary.

Immigration law continues to be an area of contention and confusion for both immigrants and officials alike. This can be stressful for those who lack the proper paperwork but would like to become U.S. citizens or take advantage of other legal paths to citizenship. An attorney in New York can help with navigating the state's court system so that one's personal goals are achieved.

Source: newsday.com, "Ban ICE arrests of immigrants at New York courthouses, advocates say", Matthew Chayes, June 22, 2017

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