The Philadelphia Bar Association has released a statement advocating to prevent access for Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents to courthouses.
The association’s chancellor, retired Judge A. Michael Snyder, released the statement Monday after an ICE agent made an arrest at a Northhampton County courthouse.
The arrest was caught on video and went viral.
The association’s statement read, in part, “We call upon law enforcement agencies, local governments, and court administration to prevent the access of ICE agents into courthouses, and to act to protect the rights of individuals lawfully within those facilities from harassment or arrest by ICE agents, whether uniformed or not.”
The statement also compared ICE agents and procedures with secret police inside a police state.
“Such actions are hauntingly reminiscent of those of a police state, calling to mind the actions of a secret or state police. Actions such as these are a clear violation of basic human rights. This is not the America created by the Framers of the Constitution,” the statement read.
.@PhilaBar Chancellor’s Statement on ICE Arrests Within Courthouses:
“. . . Actions such as these are a clear violation of basic human rights. This is not the America created by the Framers of the Constitution. . . .”
— Phila. Bar Assn. (@PhilaBar) March 9, 2020
The Philadelphia Bar Association was reacting to an arrest caught on video the week before.
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In the video, an individual identified as Franklin Urrutia-Cordon is being arrested for an immigration violation outside the courtroom where he was about to have a hearing in regard to a DUI arrest, KYW-TV reported last week.
“You have no G-28 on file. You’re interfering with me,” the unidentified ICE agent tells Urrutia-Cordon’s lawyer, Joshua Fulmer.
A G-28 is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services form that indicates an accredited representative is working on behalf of an applicant seeking immigration benefits.
“I have a warrant for your arrest for being unlawfully present in the United States,” the agent tells Urrutia-Cordon before handcuffing him.
According to The Morning Call, Urrutia-Cordon, from Guatemala, has lived in the United States since 2007 and is married to a U.S. citizen.
In 2017, he was arrested for allegedly driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 percent — in all states, driving with a BAC of 0.08 percent is illegal.
It is unfortunate that the Philadelphia Bar Association has chosen to denounce ICE and its enforcement efforts.
It is also irresponsible to call on law enforcement agents — men and women who take an oath to uphold the law, even when some people find it distasteful — to divest their assistance to federal authorities or actively prevent their lawful federal actions.
Worse, it is despicable to compare federal officers with the likes of “secret or state police,” such as the East Germany Stasi, who were little more than state-sponsored terrorizers of the local captive population.
The nation’s approach to illegal immigration is a divisive issue in America, but it is clear from its agents’ work that ICE does far more good than any bad press can amount to.
Their interdictions to break human smuggling and trafficking rings alone should merit every American’s respect. The Framers would be proud.
It’s the Philadelphia Bar Association that should be ashamed of its stance and rescind its statement.
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