"We are committed to the safety and security of all New Yorkers who use our courthouses throughout the state," said Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. "In a continuing dialogue, we have met with federal officials on a local and national level to convey our concerns and request that they treat courthouses as sensitive locations, similar to schools, hospitals and places of worship. We are meeting again next week with Homeland Security officials to further voice our concerns."
New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said agents have "sunk to new lows of moral depravity” by stalking a human trafficking court, and is urging Chief Judge DiFiore to ban ICE from her court:
"Contrary to their repeated claims that they pursue only those who are a threat to public safety, ICE agents are now targeting survivors of human trafficking, some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers," she said, adding that stationing these agents inside New York's courthouses is "a shameful, predatory tactic that will make our city less safe and devastate the trust we have worked so hard to build in the immigrant community."
Back in April, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye penned an op-ed blasting Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and Department of Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly for trampling on public trust of the court system by refusing to treat courthouses as “sensitive areas”—like churches and schools—and off limits to federal immigration agents:
“We encourage the vulnerable to come to our courthouses for help. But immigration arrests, or the fear of arrests at or near courthouses, disrupt court activities and the lives of those seeking justice. The well-publicized immigration arrests at courthouses in Los Angeles and elsewhere have disrupted court business and deterred litigants. One judge said there was “near hysteria” among civil litigants recently when they thought immigration agents were about to raid a courthouse.”
”Some of the comments I’ve received after I sent my letter [to Sessions and Kelly] suggest that I am against enforcement of our immigration laws. I am not. I ask for sensible enforcement tactics that do not undermine due process, fairness and access to justice in our state court systems.”
Numerous reports from local law enforcement departments in California, Texas, and elsewhere have shown that reported incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault from immigrant communities have gone down, not because rates are lowering, but because people are afraid of exposing their legal status to police and risking deportation.
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