SAN DIEGO (AP) — Federal immigration authorities have formalized the practice of sending deportation agents to federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests, dismissing complaints from judges and advocacy that it instills fear among crime victims, witnesses and family members.
Wednesday’s directive from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it will enter courthouses only to capture specific targets, like convicted criminals, gang members, public safety threats and immigrants who have been previously deported or ordered to leave. Family, friends and witnesses won’t be picked up for deportation but ICE leaves a caveat for “special circumstances.”
The policy, signed by ICE acting director Thomas Homan, says immigration agents should generally avoid arrests in non-criminal areas of the court, like family court and small claims, unless it has supervisor approval.
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