Rally Demands End to ICE Agent Arrests of Undocumented Immigrants in Connecticut Courthouses

Excerpt from interview with Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, co-director of the Connecticut Bail Fund, recorded and produced

by Melinda Tuhus for Between The Lines/BTLonline.org.

Immigrant rights advocates protested outside the Connecticut Judicial Branch in Hartford on March 9, demanding that ICE – the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers – stop arresting undocumented immigrants inside the state’s courthouses. Activists point out that neighboring states of Massachusetts and New York have prohibited ICE arrests in their courts.

Maintaining that the state’s courts are serving as stalking ground for ICE agents, protesters made several demands on the office of state court administration. The Immigrant Bail Fund reports that bonding out immigrants who have been arrested in court is the most common avenue by which they learn about arrests. And the Immigrant Defense Project reports that in New York City, arrests within courthouses has soared 1100 percent since Donald Trump became president, up from much smaller numbers under President Obama.

ANA MARIA RIVERA-FORESTIERI: We have several demands. One of them is that the judicial branch has the full authority to enact a policy that prevents them from coming in, and there are several states that have done that, including our neighbors in New York and Massachusetts. So they could institute a policy today saying Immigration is not allowed to come in and arrest people unless they have a warrant, which is what they require of any other law enforcement agency. So we’re saying, “No special treatment for ICE.”

In addition to that we’re saying reparations for families that have been impacted by this issue. And we’re also very worried because of the Trust Act now, the Department of Homeland Security has subpoenaed several states for information about people they didn’t release because of Trust Act policies, and so the state of Connecticut is considering whether or not they’re going to respond to these subpoenas, which run contrary to the spirit of the Trust Act and why we did it in the first place. I mean, if they honor these subpoenas, then what is the point of the law, which we worked so hard to pass?

For more information on the Connecticut Immigration Rights Alliance on Facebook, visit
Facebook.com/CTImmigrantRightsAlliance.

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