At a courthouse in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, an ICE agent arrested an illegal alien who was there for legal proceedings unrelated to his immigration status. But the alien’s attorney was outraged and complained to the media and county officials. This led the County Executive, one Lamont McClure, to take drastic action. He whipped out his pen and issued an executive order stating that immigration officials could no longer make arrests at the courthouse without first obtaining a federal warrant. Well, bless his heart. (Washington Examiner)
The arrest of an illegal immigrant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pennsylvania sparked outrage and inspired a county executive to issue an order prohibiting such detainment without a warrant.
An ICE agent took Franklin Urrutia-Cordon, a Guatemalan national on trial for DUI charges, into custody on Monday at the Northampton County Courthouse in a move that attorney Joshua Fulmer described as “unbelievably disturbing.”
County Executive Lamont McClure responded to news of the arrest by issuing an order mandating that ICE agents obtain a warrant before taking illegal immigrants into custody at a courthouse.
“No one will be permitted to be arrested in this courthouse by the federal government without a warrant from a federal judge,” McClure stated.
Here’s a brief video of the ICE agent making the arrest. It looks completely unremarkable and just business as usual for immigration enforcement officials.
I don’t want to be the one to have to break the bad news to County Executive McClure, but federal immigration officials are fully able to ignore your county executive order and there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. It’s true that ICE agents require a warrant to enter a private residence and detain someone, but once they walk out the door they are fair game.
Also, the local government is bringing this situation down on themselves. ICE was interested in Urrutia-Cordon because he had gotten himself into legal trouble above and beyond the fact that he was in the country illegally. His attorney acknowledged as much, saying his client had been dragged into court “multiple times over the years” without being detained. That moves him up ICE’s priority list.
But the only reason ICE has to go after people like this at a courthouse is that the locals don’t honor detainers and help them pick them up at the jail. The court is the next safest place to make the arrest, both for the suspect and the officers. If you’d turned him over when he was first taken to jail you wouldn’t be dealing with this situation now.
Other jurisdictions have tried the same thing this county executive is attempting without much success. The new Attorney General for New York imposed a similar rule about ICE detentions at courthouses. The result? ICE ignored her and kept on making the arrests anyway because she was trying to create rules that extend beyond her jurisdiction.
But don’t let us discourage you, Mr. McClure. You keep right on writing those county executive orders. Perhaps you can have some of them framed for your office.