Ever since President Donald Trump launched his notorious anti-immigration crackdown, deportation officers have been making headlines for arresting undocumented immigrants from outside courthouse across the county — a move widely criticized by activists and advocacy groups.
However, in yet another reminder of how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is getting completely out of control, the agency put forward a formalized plan allowing its agents to arrest certain immigrants from inside federal, state and local courthouses.
“ICE civil immigration enforcement actions inside courthouses include actions against specific, targeted aliens with criminal convictions, gang members, national security or public safety threats, aliens who have been ordered removed from the United States but have failed to depart,” read the policy directive. “And aliens who have re-entered the country illegally after being removed, when ICE officers or agents have information that leads them to believe the targeted aliens are present at that specific location.”
While the group said it would not arrest family and friends accompanying the targeted immigrant, it also noted it might change under “special circumstances.”
“Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials routinely engage in enforcement activity in courthouses throughout the country because many individuals appearing in courthouses for one matter are wanted for unrelated criminal or civil violations,” the document, signed by Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan, stated. “ICE’s enforcement activities in these same courthouses are wholly consistent with longstanding law enforcement practices, nationwide. And, courthouse arrests are often necessitated by the unwillingness of jurisdictions to cooperate with ICE in the transfer of custody of aliens from their prisons and jails.”
The directive was released the same day Homan delivered a rather aggressive speech at the Border Security Expo in San Antonio.
“I’ll never back down on those words,” he said, referring to his controversial statement that all undocumented immigrants should be fear getting arrested and deported under the Trump administration. “If you violate the laws of this country, if you enter illegally — which is a crime — it’s not going to be OK anymore.”
The 56-year-old official, who started his career as a Border Patrol agent more than 30 years ago, shares the same hardline, conservative views on immigration as Trump. During his address, Homan not only praised the commander-in-chief’s controversial immigration reforms proposal and insisted the Congress should approve funding for Trump’s border wall, but also slammed sanctuary cities.
“If we get a clean DACA bill, shame on all of us,” Homan said. “I 100 percent support the wall.”
He also attempted to justify ICE’s controversial practice of detaining and deporting inmates, claiming this process is safer for his agents and subtly warned that restricting the agency’s access to prisons will force officers to go knocking on people’s door, which could lead to even more arrests.
Banner Credits: Reuters, Lucy Nicholson
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson