ICE Arrests Without Warrant Banned From Northampton County, Pennsylvania, Court House
On March 2, a federal officer, who was not in uniform, conducted a warrantless arrest of an undocumented immigrant inside the Courthouse. The undocumented immigrant was a spouse of a U.S. citizen, was very close to becoming a lawful permanent resident in the United States, is gainfully employed in the U.S., and has paid his federal taxes regularly for the past ten years. The immigrant was arrested, despite his attorney demanding the federal officer for an arrest warrant. The immigrant was taken away by the federal officer in handcuffs to an unknown destination.
In response to the arrest, Northampton County Executive Lamount McClure has issued Executive Order 20-28, which bans Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from arresting criminal defendants within Northampton County unless a warrant is provided to the Sheriff or jail authorities.
ICE is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is principally responsible for immigration and customs enforcement. ICE is also responsible for a cross-border crime and illegal immigration.
Executive McClure of the Northampton County stated: “Executive 20-28 balances the legitimate needs of the Federal Government to enforce our national immigration laws while providing basic protections of due process that all human beings are owed in the United States.”
Executive Order 20-28
The Executive Order notes that preserving public justice and adhering to the rule of law are two values enshrined in the country’s seal. Any person who is not lawfully present in the U.S. and who has been accused of or is being adjudicated of a state criminal law violation will be held for an additional 48 hours even after the Judge of the state has relinquished jurisdiction of the case; provided the Sheriff and the Department of Corrections of the County of Northampton are in possession of an ICE arrest warrant. If the ICE arrest warrant is not in physical possession with the County of Northampton, the immigrant will be free to go.
If the ICE representative, provides the Federal Judge or Federal Magistrate signed arrest warrant to the Sheriff or the Jail, such an immigrant will be remanded into the custody of the ICE representative.
If the undocumented immigrant is detained during the 48-hour period, they will not be remanded to ICE custody without the warrant. At the expiration of the 48-hour period, the person will be released subject to the terms of the originally issued Court of Common Pleas order.