LEGAL AID, ALAA JOINT STATEMENT ON GOVERNOR CUOMO’S CEASE AND DESIST LETTER TO ICE

The Legal Aid Society and ALAA applaud Governor Cuomo’s cease and desist letter to┬áICE, and the modification of his September 2017 Executive Order No. 170 to prohibit ICE arrests in courthouses without a judicial warrant. ICE’s presence in our courts undermines our ability to represent our clients and safeguard their Constitutional rights. Immigrant defendants and witnesses are terrified to appear in court, knowing that ICE is indiscriminately targeting anyone who is not a US citizen. After detaining our clients through warrantless arrests, ICE has a pattern and practice of failing to produce these individuals for subsequent criminal court hearings. And having an open criminal case prejudices our clients’ ability to seek relief from removal in immigration court. We call on Chief Judge Janet DiFiore to join Gov. Cuomo in calling for ICE to stay out of our courthouses. In doing so, she would be joining her fellow chief justices in California, Washington, New Jersey, Oregon, and Connecticut, who have all recognized that ICE’s presence in the courts undermines the administration of justice.