Last week, a federal judge in New York ruled that the practice of Immigration and Customs Enforcement taking illegal aliens into custody when they show up at hearings in courthouses is illegal. The case was the latest in a series of challenges brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James in her neverending battle to thwart the Trump administration. Of course, when you look at the history of the policy in question, her argument quickly falls apart. But at least for now, the practice will have to come to a halt until the appeals are heard. (NBC News)
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests at courthouses in New York state, which have increased during the Trump administration, are illegal.
The ruling comes in a case filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in September that sought to block ICE from conducting civil immigration arrests at the state’s courthouses.
For years, local officials, including police chiefs and state prosecutors, have said that immigration enforcement operations inside courthouses have hampered their ability to investigate and prosecute crimes. Immigration advocacy organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union have mounted campaigns to track and end ICE courthouse arrests, arguing they undermine the justice system.
The AG quickly took to Twitter to proclaim her victory and reveal the actual reason she was pursuing this matter.
#BREAKING: We won our lawsuit against the Trump Administration to end its illegal policy of making ICE arrests at New York courthouses.
This is a victory in our fight to protect immigrant communities and ensure justice is served. Thanks to @BrooklynDA for his partnership.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) June 10, 2020
As you can see, James considers this a victory over the Trump administration, not a victory for the rule of law. But that’s really never been her focus to begin with. She ran a campaign based on resisting Donald Trump, not on enforcing and upholding the laws of the state. And that’s what’s occupied pretty much all of her time since taking office. I can’t recall the last time she actually took any action that wasn’t either aimed at the President or the police in New York.
Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised, considering that this is the same Attorney General who proudly published photos of herself illegally painting graffiti on city streets without a permit.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) June 13, 2020
This “victory” is a rather dubious one, as I mentioned above. The practice of having ICE take illegal aliens into custody at courthouses wasn’t invented by the Trump administration. Even the NBC News article linked above notes that these arrests increased after Trump was in office, but there had been plenty of that going on under Obama as well. The Trump administration policy only formalized the need for such arrangements.
The reality of ICE’s position in New York and other sanctuary cities and states should be obvious to James and anyone else who is paying attention. If they can’t pick up criminal illegal aliens when they are put in jail because local law enforcement is forbidden from honoring detainers, they have to seek their suspects elsewhere. Going out to find them in the community is far more dangerous, both for the officers and the community. The only other truly safe place to pick them up is when they show up to appear in court, as people aren’t allowed to bring weapons into courthouses.
In this instance, we have once again seen Attorney General James working alongside Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio for the benefit of criminals rather than the law-abiding. In New York, this has been the “new normal” for quite a while now.