A disturbing trend has emerged in New York courtrooms. Agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have begun using these courts of law as convenient venues for arresting immigrants who are there to face other charges, pay parking tickets and even to have their charges dismissed. New York City has long established itself as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants in an effort to encourage them to report crimes and to protect them from exploitation within the city. The latest round of arrests by ICE may make it difficult to maintain that status and may make undocumented immigrants less likely to report crimes against them to the authorities.
Circumventing Local Authorities
ICE has arrested immigrants attending municipal court proceedings, child visitation hearings and diversion hearings for minors. This not only prevents the municipal courts from resolving the issues for which immigrants have come to court but also serves as a strong deterrent for these individuals to show up at all. While many of those arrested and processed for deportation by ICE are undocumented, there have been a number of cases in which immigrants here legally with a visa or green card have also been arrested simply for showing up to court. In some cases, these individuals have not even been allowed to contact their New York immigration lawyer before deportation proceedings are initiated.
ICE Crackdown May Have Far-Reaching Effects
One way in which these actions by ICE may have a lasting effect on immigrants in New York is the growing unwillingness of these individuals to interact with authorities at any level. Many victims of abuse are already afraid to report their abusers because of fears of deportation by ICE. This is equally true of those trapped in exploitative relationships with employers. By making their arrests in courtroom settings, ICE is creating an environment in which undocumented and even documented immigrants can be abused and exploited without consequence.
Retaining the services of a qualified New York immigration lawyer can be a good first step toward protecting your right to remain in the U.S. legally. The experts at Pozo Goldstein can provide you with assertive representation that can help you and your family to stay together and to live and work here. Call us today at 212-201-9031 to schedule a free initial consultation in our offices. We look forward to the opportunity to help you and your family with all your immigration needs.