Governor wants ICE to stop detaining people at Metro Court | KOB 4
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Governor wants ICE to stop detaining people at Metro Court

Brittany Costello
February 22, 2019 09:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Governor’s office is sending a message to the Bernalillo County Metro Court.

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According to a letter sent to Chief Judge Sandra Engel, Federal ICE agents are arresting and detaining people inside the courthouse and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham wants it to stop.

It's a place people go for justice. Metro Court is open to any and everyone. But it's a place that can sometimes be unnerving to the immigrant community.

“If you have the court collaborating with ICE and there’s people detained in the court by ICE then people are not going to want to testify or have any interaction with our city or state institutions,” said Felipe Rodriguez, campaign manager for #EducationNotDeportation for the New Mexico Dream Team.

While the courts may not collaborating, there's concern Immigration and Customs Enforcement is stopping at the courts, according to a letter sent by Gov. Lujan Grisham.

The Governor's office sent the letter Wednesday, saying in part, “we wanted to express our concern regarding reports that ice is arresting and detaining New Mexico residents inside the courthouse and on the neighboring grounds."

Neither the court nor ICE has confirmed such reports.

The Court Executive Officer for Metro Court sent us a statement:

"We are pleased that the governor supports our Court Access Policy.  The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court is committed that courts of law should remain open and accessible to the public.  As a Court, we cannot prohibit law enforcement from making arrests in our courthouse.  However, we have been in discussions and will continue to work with all law enforcement officers to make sure that we have an open and safe environment in our courthouse.  We will continue to provide access to justice and operate within the confines of the law."  

The court's policy does allow officers to arrest or detain anyone putting public safety at risk or if they have a warrant.

KOB reached out to the governor’s office for an interview, she was unavailable. KOB reached out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to validate those claims but have not heard back.

Credits

Brittany Costello

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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