Immigration and Customs Enforcement has said that its agents are allowed to dress in plain clothes and not identify themselves before taking undocumented immigrants into custody. This may have an impact on those living in Maryland and elsewhere in the United States. In Brooklyn, four people were taken into custody outside of a courthouse by ICE agents who did not identify themselves. They were also in plain clothes when the incident happened, and scenes such as this one have becoming increasing common.
According to current ICE policy, agents are advised to not detain anyone outside of hospitals, schools or other areas deemed sensitive. However, courthouses are not included on that list. Furthermore, the agency says that action is more likely to be taken against those with a criminal record or who otherwise pose a threat to the general public. In New York, officers are required to check in at a courthouse, and they are required to notify the judge of their presence.
Furthermore, people may only be taken into custody in a courtroom if there are extraordinary circumstances. While ICE officers didn’t identify themselves to the press in the Brooklyn case, it isn’t required depending on how visible they want to make themselves at a given scene. Officers generally make themselve less visible if not doing so could jeopardize their safety or the success in apprehending an individual.
If an individual who is not a permanent resident or citizen of the United States is facing criminal charges, that person may be deported. Those who believe that they have not committed a crime or are mistaken for someone who is in the country illegally may wish to talk with an attorney. This may make it possible to avoid deportation or other negative consequences associated with being in custody.