By Reyna Olaguez for South Kern Sol
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) will no longer arrest immigrants at Kern County Courthouses, announced a top ICE official on January 10. The moves comes after the American Civil Liberties Union complained that immigration officials were arresting undocumented immigrants while they were using courthouse services, like paying traffic tickets.
ICE officials will now only arrest undocumented immigrants at the courthouse in “exigent”circumstances, according to Thomas Homan,Executive Associate Director of ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations.
The decision puts an end to deportations that are put into motion after an immigrant appears at the courthouse to pay fines, attend a court hearings, or get married.
“These arrests have impeded residents from complying with the law and accessing essential court services, and deterred them from doing so in the future,” wrote ACLU attorney Michael Kauffman, in a letter written to ICE on Oct. 17.
Obeying the law is important to Gema Perez, 48, a mother of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, who said it saddened her that people could be arrested for “just trying to be in good terms with the law.”
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