BY ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, BOSTON (AP) — Dozens of retired state and federal judges are calling on U.S. immigration officials to stop making arrests at courthouses of people suspected of being in the country illegally.
Nearly 70 judges from 23 states say in a letter sent Wednesday to Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello that courthouse arrests are disrupting the criminal justice system.
They’re urging Vitiello to add halls of justice to the list of so-called “sensitive locations” that are generally free from immigration enforcement.
Immigration officials argue courthouse arrests are safer for agents because people typically have to go through metal detectors when they enter.
They also say communities often force their hand by refusing to transfer immigrants in local prisons and jails to ICE custody.
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(FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2018, file photo, acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello appears for his confirmation hearing in Washington. Nearly 70 former judges, including federal judges and state supreme court justices, sent a letter to Vitiello calling for U.S. immigration officials to stop making arrests at courthouses of people suspected of being in the country illegally, saying immigrants should be free to visit halls of justice without fearing they will be detained. AP Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, File)