Immigration Law

Woman in courthouse to obtain protective order is arrested by ICE agents


Handcuffs

The county attorney in El Paso, Texas, is criticizing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for its arrest of a woman who was at the courthouse to obtain a protective order.

County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal speculates that ICE agents were at the courthouse because of a tip from the woman’s alleged abuser, report the Washington Post and the El Paso Times.

“It really was a stunning event,” Bernal told the Post. “It has an incredible chilling effect for all undocumented victims of any crime in our community.”

ICE agents acknowledged they went to the courthouse after they received a tip, but the agents did not reveal the source. ICE says in court documents that the arrest occurred outside the courthouse. But several lawyers in Bernal’s office, as well as the judge who granted the protective order, said ICE agents were in the courthouse and escorted the woman outside.

An ICE affidavit said the woman has been deported several times and has been arrested for assault, violating probation, domestic violence, false imprisonment and possession of stolen mail.

Bernal countered that state police would have been looking for the woman if she were dangerous. “It doesn’t make sense why the resources would be used to go after a victim of domestic abuse,” she said. “It seems to be they are continuing to victimize our client.”


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