Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), took a mother and her teenage son into custody after they appeared in court for a domestic violence case.
NPR’s Ari Shapiro spoke with Lisa Diefenderfer, an attorney for the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, about the case.
Diefenderfer revealed that ICE entered the courthouse and arrested the mother. A public defender who was working on the case called her office and “he was terrified — didn’t know what to do,” the attorney says.
Maria and her son were attacked in early 2018 and were hoping to bring their abuser to justice. They appeared in court to obtain a domestic violence protection order against him.
The women’s abusers turned the table, pressing charges by claiming that when Maria fled with her boys, she also took some of their toys, a crib, and other items, which their alleged attacker claimed resulted in the theft of property.
“The charges against her were — according to the public defender and the district attorney — were going to be dismissed because clearly, they didn’t want to prosecute a case that was basically bogus,” Diefenderfer tells NPR.
Sadly, Diefenderfer says increased ICE activity in her area has led to a drastic decrease in the number of individuals who file domestic violence issues for fear of retribution.
ICE says the arrest was absolutely part of “a targeted enforcement action following Maria’s court appearance as the defendant on misdemeanor criminal charges,” adding that this courtroom arrest policy is not new.”
Maria is now awaiting her deportation hearing which could lead to her expulsion from the United States.
ICE has made it a habit of arresting immigrants for doing the right thing, last week we reported on a mother who was arrested for showing up in court to pay her traffic ticket.