NEW YORK—Today, U.S. District Court Judge Jed D. Rakoff ruled that Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) cannot conduct civil arrests on the grounds of New York State courthouses, or of anyone required to travel to or from court as a party or witness.
The Protect Our Courts Act (S.425-A/A.2176-A), sponsored by State Senator Brad Hoylman, would codify the common law privilege from civil arrest -- including by ICE -- for New Yorkers attending court proceedings; the legislation would also protect those who accompany their relatives to court.
Senator Hoylman, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement in response:
“Donald Trump’s heartless immigration policy isn’t just cruel—it’s a perversion of justice. The chilling effect of ICE officers stationed outside our courthouses threatens the integrity of our judicial system.
“Judge Rakoff’s decision today validates the central premise of the Protect Our Courts Act: all New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, must be able to safely attend court proceedings. Whether someone is a litigant or a witness, they should be able to participate in the judicial system without fear of arrest or deportation.
“New York needs to send an unambiguous message: ICE is not welcome in our courts. To permanently ensure the safety of all New Yorkers, this principle must be codified into law. That’s why I’m proud to sponsor the Protect Our Courts Act, legislation that’s supported by a strong majority of the New York State Senate. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to advance this crucial legislation.”
Senator Hoylman and Assembly Member Solages introduced the Protect Our Courts Act (S.425-A/A.2176-A) which would prohibit Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) from making civil arrests in and around New York State courthouses, unless they have a judicial warrant or court order.
If passed, the Protect Our Courts Act would provide among the most protective regulations on ICE courthouse arrests in the country and ensure all New Yorkers – including those accused of crimes, survivors of violence, and witnesses – are afforded due process and provided equal access to our judicial system.