Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, during the Obama administration, prioritized arresting undocumented immigrants with criminal records. But since President Donald Trump’s executive orders in January, the agency has become more aggressive and unpredictable so much so that immigrants scheduled to testify in court, especially in cases of domestic violence, are not showing up, reports Taylor Dovlen.
“[Before] I could tell looking at someone’s history whether or not they were likely to be picked up from court,” Denver-based immigration attorney Whitney Leeds told Vice News. “Now, that’s not the case. It’s really a free for all.”
In February, after she attended a hearing for a protective order against her abuser, ICE officers arrested a domestic violence victim in an El Paso courthouse. The fear is real.
According to the Washington Post, immigration arrests were up more than 30 percent in the first two months of 2017 while arrests of undocumented immigrants with no criminal records increased more than double.
In Denver so far this year, notes Dovlen, reports of crimes often associated with domestic violence, including assault, are down 12 percent for Hispanics and up 4 percent for non-Hispanics compared to last year.