BDS CALLS ON THE NYS LEGISLATURE TO PASS THE PROTECT OUR COURTS ACT!
Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) strongly supports A.11013/S.8925, a bill to protect people from warrantless civil arrest in courthouses.
Since the beginning of this year, Brooklyn Defender Services has had approximately 30 of our criminal defense clients arrested by ICE in or outside the courthouse or in the community. Our immigrant clients are rightly terrified to appear in court, whether as defendants, witnesses or as friends or family members accompanying loved ones.
Our clients are not the only immigrants targeted for arrest by ICE in our courthouses. From 2016 to 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrests in and around New York State courthouses increased 1200%. Twenty-eight percent of the undocumented immigrants targeted had no prior criminal history. The majority were reporting to court on low-level offenses, many for traffic violations. The legislature must act to protect immigrant New Yorkers from unlawful arrests and targeting by ICE in and around our courts.
 Immigrant Defense Project, Press Release: IDP Unveils New Statistics & Trends Detailing Statewide ICE Courthouse Arrests in 2017 (Dec. 31, 2017), available at https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/wp-content/uploads/ICE-Courthouse-Arrests-Stats-Trends-2017-Press-Release-FINAL.pdf.