Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde promises to have a resolution on banning U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the City of Newburgh Courthouse by May 9, after community members filled up the city council meeting demanding for a resolution passed in Newburgh.
The resolution comes in wake of the city passing a local law on municipal ID cards, for all residents in the city. The resolution demanded by residents and immigrant advocacy groups like Nobody Leaves Mid Hudson asks for the ban of civil arrests on their way to the courthouse and exiting the courthouse.
The resolution takes new rules issued by the New York State Court Administration on April 17 to the next level. New York State courthouse does not allow any arrests to take place inside a courthouse by ICE unless mandated by a federal judge. The resolution asked of municipalities in the area that these rules be taken a step further to protect any person on their way to or exiting a courthouse.
“We are doing great work we have to continue to move forward to protect community members,” said Jonathan Bix, of Nobody Leaves Mid Hudson. “Here we all want to pay our parking tickets our speeding tickets but it is a risk to lose your family on the way to pay that ticket.”
Many arrests take place outside the courthouse doors, making many undocumented immigrants fearful to attend court for simple infractions such as traffic tickets. A man was recently taken down outside a courthouse in Middletown, by an ICE officer in plain clothes. The incident put fear in many undocumented immigrants to leave their homes, let alone attend a courthouse.
“When I was here I was thinking how many undocumented immigrants take their kids to court to translate because they don’t understand what they are telling them and then seeing your mother or father ripped away that is a reality every day,” said … DACA recipient. “It’s not like we are trying to go into court or trying not to pay tickets but should we be punished for being responsible. I ask that when you think about supporting this resolution think about the families that will be given the chance to stay together. I am a DACA recipient I am a part of the group that is afraid to go to court.”
A bill has been put before New York State legislators co-sponsored by Jonathan Jacobson and Kevin Cahill. The Protect Our Courts Act, if passed will amend the civil rights law and the judiciary law to protect people from civil arrest while going to, remaining at or returning from a court proceeding.
This law is what Nobody Leaves Mid Hudson and many advocates for the bill are looking to pass in 10 municipalities across the Hudson Valley to protect immigrants rights immediately.
“On May 9 we will put on our agenda the Protect our Court Act resolution we will come together to protect our city. This is America, everyone sitting here we all count,” said Monteverde.
The resolution will be on the agenda for May 9, a work session. The public will have another opportunity to speak on the issue at the following City Council meeting on May 13.