Governor Cuomo Signs the ‘Protect Our Courts’ Act

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Governor Cuomo Signs the ‘Protect Our Courts’ Act

Immigration has been an important topic in the news recently. For example, last week we saw the potential reinstatement of DACA. This week, Governor Cuomo has issued a new act, protecting illegal immigrants showing up to court proceedings. Read on to learn more about this new act and what it entails.

Many have worried that the possibility of being arrested is a major deterrent for illegal immigrants to show up to court proceedings. Currently, many immigrant families fear going to court because they fear they may be arrested. Additionally, the presence of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who are attempting to arrest illegal immigrants who show up to court is a large source of tension between judges and the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, Fox News has stated that “in 2019, ICE made 173 arrests at state courthouses, much higher than the 28 made in 2016.” To combat these issues, Governor Cuomo has signed the Protect Our Courts Act (POCA). This Act gives all New York City residents access to NYC courts by barring federal immigration agents from making arrests inside state courthouses without a judicial warrant. It is important to note that arrests can still be made in New York City courts, but a judge will have to sign a warrant in order for the arrest to be made. Nysenate.gov explains, “The legislation would provide the most protective regulations on ICE courthouse arrests in the country and ensure all New Yorkers—including those accused of crimes, survivors of domestic violence, and witnesses—are afforded due process and provided equal access to our judicial system.” This will be implemented through The Office of Court Administration, which “will designate attorneys to review any judicial warrants or court orders presented before allowing non-local law enforcement (including ICE) to enter a courthouse in order to make a civil arrest. The bill also requires that the court document any warrants or court orders presented to its staff,” according to immigrationdefenseproject.org

If you have any questions or concerns about this new Act and how it may affect you or a loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to our firm. We are here to help you with all your immigration needs. Additionally, if ICE violates your rights under POCA, you should contact a skilled NYC immigration attorney immediately.

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Katona & Associates, PLLC is an experienced, highly dedicated New York City immigration law firm located in lower Manhattan. Our firm works with clients in all matters of immigration law, including employment immigration, family immigration, deportation defense, green cards, and citizenship. Contact us to discuss your case and get the help you need.

 
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