Immigration advocates vow to monitor ICE activity

Posted: Updated:

A coalition of immigration advocates says that they will keep a close eye on Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents after the agency began targeting undocumented immigrants at courthouses.

The group, known as Deportation and Immigration Response Equipo, is led by the Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale. The group was out in North Brunswick Tuesday monitoring activity at the municipal building.

"We have had three people who've come to pay fines here in the last couple of months, who upon leaving the courthouse, were picked up in the parking lot by ICE and put into immigration detention,” Kaper-Dale says.

The reverend also says that he has recently seen ICE agents wear shirts that just say “police” instead of “ICE police.”

“I think this is the hate crime president who is carrying out racial and ethnic cleansing under the guise of immigration reform,” Kaper-Dale says.

ICE formalized its courthouse arrest policy earlier this year and determined those buildings are not "sensitive locations” like schools, churches and hospitals.

North Brunswick is among the first municipalities in New Jersey to allow volunteer monitoring. Mayor Francis Womack said in a statement that he is supporting the effort.

“Like any other group, we welcome DIRE's respectful visits to our public municipal building,” the mayor said.

Kaper-Dale says that while arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses is legal, there will be consequences to public safety.

“They're skipping their appointments. Please ICE, have a little support for the courts,” Kaper-Dale says.

New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stuart Rabner called on federal officials last year to stop arresting undocumented immigrants at state courthouses. He says that it could undermine New Jersey’s justice system.

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