ICE Agents Arrest Trans Domestic Violence Victim In Courthouse Where She Sought Protection

ICE Agents Arrest Domestic Violence Victim In Texas Courthouse Where She Sought Protection

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to include new developments.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested an undocumented transgender woman last week in a Texas courthouse where she had just been granted a protective order for domestic abuse.

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KVIA reports that the woman, who has been identified solely as Ms. Gonzalez, was arrested on February 9 following a call from the alleged abuser to ICE telling them his ex would by at the courthouse, a common practice or threat used by abusive partners of undocumented immigrants.

According to a criminal complaint, the woman had been arrested six times since 2010 following arrests on crimes like false imprisonment, assault, domestic violence and possession of stolen mail.

News of the woman's detainment has concerned many El Paso residents, who fear it will discourage undocumented victims of violence from seeking legal protection. Among those troubled: El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal.

"Our clients come to us at the lowest point in their lives," she told the El Paso Times. "Many of them are so frightened of coming to us because of possible immigration concerns."

The 65th District judge, Yahara Lisa Gutierrez, who’s in charge of the court that granted the woman's protective order, agrees, saying that ICE agents should not be complicit in an abuser’s schemes.

"There's no place for that — especially in family court," she said.

PLUS: ICE Confirms Last Week's Arrests Were "Broader" Than Usual

Ms. Gonzalez is currently being held at the El Paso County Jail under a federal ICE detainer. A Mijente petition is calling for her release from ICE custody. The alleged abuser is in prison serving time for forgery of a financial document.