Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers will no longer be allowed to arrest people for civil immigration violations in or around courthouses in Colorado.
Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 83 into law Monday. It prohibits ICE from making civil arrests while a person is in the courthouse or on its property or if the person is going to or from a court proceeding.
The bill excludes civil arrests related to a judge’s contempt-of-court order or other judicially issued process. A violation of the law could lead to a judge finding the agent in contempt of court, or the person could be subject to civil penalties from the attorney general.
Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, said the bill sends a message that everyone deserves protections, particularly at a time when immigrants are fearful of accessing services. That includes witnesses, defendants and victims of crime.
The new law would allow immigrants who came to the country illegally to participate in the judicial process without worry about being deported.
“No one should feel like they can’t access justice through the courts because of their immigration status,” she said. “I think it makes it very clear to ICE that we want people to feel safe in our communities.
Acting Field Office Director of ICE’s Denver office John Fabbricatore said in a statement Tuesday night that restricting ICE from arresting people at courthouses increases risks to public safety and forces the agency to make arrests in the community rather than in courthouses or jails.
“Across the country, ICE carries out arrests at courthouses in a professional manner against specific, targeted aliens with a final removal order or those who pose a public safety threat, some of whom have multiple criminal convictions,” Fabbricatore said.
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