ICE Protests

Mack Rosenberg/WCBS 880

ICE Suspends In-Person Immigration Hearings In NYC Over Protests, Threats Of Violence

June 28, 2018 - 10:20 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Recent clashes between guards and protesters have led to the indefinite suspension of in-person detention hearings at a Manhattan immigration court, according to a spokeswoman at the facility. 

Immigration enforcement officials said ongoing protests and threats of violence outside the Varick Street processing facility have forced them to suspend the transport of detainees for immigration hearings for the forseeable future.

The decision was made to ensure the safety of agents and the detainees. 

Detainees are now appearing by video.

The Legal Aid Society and public defenders from the Bronx and Brooklyn issued a statement calling the decision to eliminate in-person appearances "a direct attack on those who have been waiting for months in detention for a chance to meet with their attorneys."

Typically, about 30 to 40 cases are heard at the court each day, the New York Daily News reported. A spokesman for the Legal Aid Society calls ICE's move "a disaster" for immigrants' due process rights. 

A group calling themselves Occupy ICE had been holding daily protests last week on the Houston Street side of the facility, at times forming a human chain and blocking the garage where detainees typically enter.

Video shot by the group Rise and Resist shows several protesters going up against guards at the garage entrance, some of them getting pushed to the ground. 

The demonstrators eventually moved to the other side of the street.