The arrest of an illegal immigrant by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pennsylvania sparked outrage and inspired a county executive to issue an order prohibiting such detainment without a warrant.
An ICE agenttookFranklin Urrutia-Cordon, a Guatemalan national on trial for DUI charges, into custody on Monday at the Northampton County Courthouse in a move that attorney Joshua Fulmer described as “unbelievably disturbing.”
“I literally lost my mind,” Fulmer said. “The agent refused to tell me where he was going. I’ve never seen this happen.”
The agent was wearing plainclothes, and a video of the interaction posted online shows Fulmer asking the ICE agent for a warrant that was not provided.
County Executive Lamont McClure responded to news of the arrest by issuing an order mandating that ICE agents obtain a warrant before taking illegal immigrants into custody at a courthouse.
“No one will be permitted to be arrested in this courthouse by the federal government without a warrant from a federal judge,” McClure stated.
Fulmer said he believes ICE was tipped off, noting how Urrutia-Cordon has been in court multiple times over the years but had not attracted the attention of federal officials.
“Nobody from this office called ICE,” Northampton County District Attorney Terry Houck said. “ICE came on their own [Monday]. I can’t begin to tell you how they found out, nor do I care. His immigration status is not our concern,” Houck fired back to the accusation of being tipped off.
John Vandenberg, an immigration attorney representing Urrutia-Cordon, referred to the arrest as “insidious.”
“For me, what’s insidious here is picking people up at the courthouse,” he said. “This is bad. This discourages immigrants from participating in the justice system. The effect here is a punishment that is far harsher than what is set out by law. And that’s closing the door on justice for immigrants in the United States.”