by: Natasha Chen Updated:
Current ICE policy directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances. The locations specified in the guidance include schools, places of worship and hospitals. Under the policy, courthouses are not considered sensitive locations.
While ICE does arrest targets at courthouses, generally it's only after investigating officers have exhausted other options:
* Many of the arrest targets ICE has sought out at or near courthouses are foreign nationals who have prior criminal convictions in the U.S. In years past, most of these individuals would have been turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers.
* When criminal custody transfers occur inside the secure confines of a jail or prison, it's far safer for everyone involved, including our officers and the person who's being arrested.
* Now that many law enforcement agencies no longer honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat. When ICE Fugitive Operations officers have to go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, regardless of the precautions they take, it needlessly puts our personnel and potentially innocent bystanders in harm's way.
* Moreover, tracking down our priority fugitives is highly resource intensive. It's not uncommon for our criminal alien targets to utilize multiple aliases and provide authorities with false addresses. Many do not have a stable place of employment.
* Absent a viable address for a residence or place of employment, a courthouse may afford the most likely opportunity to locate a target and take him or her into custody.
* Additionally, because courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband, the safety risks for the arresting officers and for the arrestee are substantially diminished.
* In such instances where deportation officers seek to conduct an arrest at a courthouse, every effort is made to take the person into custody in a secure area, out of public view, but this is not always possible.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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