A group of legal organizations announced the filing of two lawsuits on Wednesday, claiming that arrests at courthouses by Immigration and Customs Enforcement without a judicial warrant are unconstitutional.
ICE’s courthouse arrests have caused a chilling effect that has scared immigrants out of attending court and is, therefore, a violation of their constitutional rights to access the legal system and New York state law preventing civil arrests at courthouses, the lawsuits claim.
“When ICE targets witnesses and victims for arrests, it deters noncitizens and immigrants from assisting in state and local law enforcement efforts or protecting their own rights in court,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James said during a press conference announcing the lawsuit in Foley Square.
The Legal Aid Society filed one lawsuit with co-counsel Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, which seeks a permanent injunction on the practice. They’re representing a victim of domestic abuse who is afraid to go to court due to ICE’s courthouse arrests.
The New York State Attorney General and Brooklyn District Attorney filed a separate lawsuit that argued the arrests prevent the administration of justice, violate the Administrative Procedures Act and the constitution.