Today’s Times features “Advocates Seek to Make Courthouses Off Limits for Immigration Officials,” a tale of the immigration agent’s boot stamping on the immigrant’s face forever. Except that the advocates in question apparently couldn’t find a suitable protagonist, because the one they offered up to the Times reporter doesn’t evoke a lot of sympathy. Here’s how it starts:
Rosario Socope, a Guatemalan immigrant in the country illegally, had an unwelcome surprise waiting for her when she attended a pretrial hearing on a felony charge at a courthouse in Brooklyn this month. As she stepped out of the courtroom into a public hallway, she was approached by immigration agents seeking to deport her.
As her husband, her social worker and one of her lawyers looked on aghast, the agents hauled her away.
The encounter was only the most recent in a long series of such cases across the country that immigrant advocates and politicians say have spread fear of courthouses among immigrants and eroded their willingness to participate in the judicial system, with profound civil rights implications.
The phrases the anti-borders crowd want you to notice are “spread fear” and “profound civil rights implications,” but the ones that jump out are “in the country illegally” and “pretrial hearing on a felony charge.”
Some other highlights:
Advocates argue that the use of courthouses by immigration officials deters undocumented immigrants from exercising their constitutional rights of due process; petitioning for redress of grievances, such as wage claims against employers; and satisfying their civic duties, such as paying traffic tickets.
A de facto amnesty is needed so illegal aliens will feel free to pay their traffic tickets?
But advocates contend that despite the new guidance, immigration agents continue to use courthouses to go after immigrants who do not appear to be the agency’s utmost priority.
Note “utmost priority” — because the protagonist of the article is a prior deportee (reentry after deportation is a felony) and thus her deportation is considered a priority even by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, but not the utmost priority.
Last year, after an altercation with a landlord, Ms. Socope — who has never been convicted of a crime, her lawyers said — was arrested and charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Her lawyers and social worker were negotiating for a plea that would include a mandate to enter an alternative-to-incarceration program where she would receive help for mental health issues and substance abuse, Ms. Hickey said.
They want you to focus on “never been convicted of a crime,” but I noticed instead “assault and criminal possession of a weapon.”
Not only should ICE not be barred from taking illegals into custody at courthouses, we should be sending extra ICE agents to courthouses to find and remove people like Ms. Socope.