ICE Agents Arrest Woman in Domestic Violence Court
She'd gone there for a protective order, says attorney
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2017 5:03 AM CST
File photo of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.   (Bryan Cox/ICE via AP)

(Newser) – Another immigration arrest is making headlines, this time in El Paso, Texas. Six federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested an undocumented woman who'd gone to court to get a protective order for domestic violence, reports KFOX. In fact, El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal thinks the woman's alleged abuser tipped off agents that she'd be in court. “I cannot recall an instance where ICE agents have gone into the domestic violence court, specifically looking for a victim of domestic violence,” she says. The El Paso Times reports on a complicated background: The alleged victim, who is identified as transgender and a citizen of Mexico, appears to have a criminal record that includes domestic violence and has been deported six times.

Bernal, however, says that history is irrelevant to what unfolded in the courthouse last week. "It really was a stunning event," she tells the Washington Post. "It has an incredible chilling effect for all undocumented victims of any crime in our community." The woman had been living in a shelter for victims of domestic abuse and had been driven to the courthouse by a victim's advocate. The judge had granted her protective order before the arrest in a hallway outside the courtroom. She is now in El Paso County Jail on an ICE detainer and expected to be deported. A spokeswoman for ICE declined to comment on the arrest, which is likely to heighten unease in the immigrant community in the wake of President Trump's promised crackdown. The woman's own arrest on domestic violence charges came in 2011, per KFOX, but no details were provided.

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