The crackdown on illegal immigrants continued yesterday when ICE agents arrested a man in a NYC court.
Genaro Rojas-Hernandez, a 30-year-old father of two from Mexico was in a Brooklyn courthouse facing alleged domestic violence charges. As he sat outside a courtroom with his attorney, federal agents seized on the opportunity, put him in cuffs and took him away.
“They were pushing and shoving me out the door,” Rojas-Hernandez’s attorney, Rebecca Kavanagh told the New York Daily News. “It was a silly misdemeanor case…on track to be dismissed. I couldn’t believe what was going on because court officers are not permitted to, should not be assisting ice agents in making arrests.”
Defense attorneys with the Legal Aid Society and Brooklyn Defender Services replied with a full-fledged protest.
Dozens of attorneys are protesting outside Brooklyn criminal court after ICE and court officers grabbed a Legal Aid client pic.twitter.com/3Y2pMiFMd9
— Noah Hurowitz (@NoahHurowitz) November 28, 2017
Outside the courthouse, the lawyers chanted, “Stay out, ICE” and “Shame on you!” Then they marched to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office to demand that the court implement a “Sanctuary Court” policy which would keep New York Court staff from working with ICE officers or allowing them to enter the courts.
Get ICE out of court. pic.twitter.com/FHj97zcS1p
— Adrienne Wells (@AdrienneLWells) November 28, 2017
As the Daily News reports, ICE agents have made 39 similar arrests since January. And, there has been a 900% increase in ICE arrests at New York courthouses since the Trump administration made the deportation of illegal immigrants a top priority.
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez addressed the incident, Tweeting “Today's ICE arrest during a hearing on a serious domestic violence case denied due process for both victim and defendant. Such actions deter victims from reporting abuse and threaten public safety. I join our public defenders in calling on ICE to reconsider their misguided policy and stop conducting enforcement raids in courthouses.”
Statement by DA Eric Gonzalez on today's ICE enforcement in Brooklyn Criminal Court: pic.twitter.com/BijBKyhUQc
— Eric Gonzalez (@BrooklynDA) November 28, 2017
In defense of the arrest, State courts spokesman Lucien Chalfen said, “We do not facilitate or impede ICE agents when they effect an arrest inside New York State Courthouses” and admonished the lawyers for “purposely interfering in an arrest situation”
No information on where Rojas-Hernandez was taken or the status of his case has been made available at this time.