A two-page directive released Wednesday stated that ICE will target convicted criminals at federal, state and local courthouses, focusing on gang members, public safety threats and immigrants who have previously been deported or were previously ordered to leave the country. However, the agency says family, friends and witnesses won't be targeted and that it will leave a caveat for "special circumstances."
The Directive also states that ICE officers and agents will generally avoid enforcement actions in courthouses, or areas within courthouses, that are dedicated to non-criminal (e.g., family court, small claims court) proceedings. In those instances in which an enforcement action in such locations is operationally necessary, the approval of the respective Field Office Director (FOD), Special Agent in Charge (SAC), or his or her designee is required.
ICE reaffirmed that a 2014 policy to avoid deportation arrests at "sensitive locations," including schools, day-care centers, hospitals, places of worship, funerals, weddings, rallies and public demonstrations, is still in place. Courthouses have never been part of that list.