DHS Limits ICE Arrests at Courthouses

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on April 27, 2021, that immigration arrests at courthouses will be more limited, which is another reversal of the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policy. Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that such arrests deterred people from attending court hearings and cooperating with law enforcement officials.

According to the new policy under President Joe Biden, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is now prohibited from making routine arrests at courthouses. The only arrests ICE can make is if a suspect poses a threat to public safety, there is an imminent risk of death or destruction of evidence, or the case involves matters of national security.

Under the previous policy set forth in 2018, ICE had the authority to enter a local, state, or federal courthouses to apprehend people who were there for non-immigration related reasons. Federal agents were able to seize trial witnesses, individuals seeking protective orders, and those pursuing civil complaints who could face deportation.

But by 2020, states such as California and New York passed laws restricting ICE arrests at courthouses, and federal court judges also barred arrests in certain states. Then in February 2021, the Biden administration directed ICE to only arrest immigrants who pose a threat, have been charged with serious felonies or sex crimes, have been recently convicted of DUI, or crossed the border illegally.

ICE officials have created a new process for appeals that will give immigrants an opportunity to challenge arrests, detentions, and deportations. Additionally, ICE is required to provide details of any planned or executed arrests in or near courthouses, including the reasons for such enforcement.

If you or a loved one is facing removal proceedings in Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs, or within the surrounding area, contact Guerra Sáenz, PL today at (954) 466-0323 for experienced legal representation. Get a Board Certified Immigration Law Specialist on your side!