Courtroom Drama

Time is all fired up because people are being arrested in courthouses. In particular, illegal aliens and foreign criminals. O for shame! How will American-style justice survive?

The open-borders lobby has already made the absurd claim that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is prohibited from arresting anyone in schools, hospitals, and churches. Of course, that claim is patently untrue. The Department of Homeland Security is a federal law enforcement agency with nationwide jurisdiction. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers don’t need anyone’s permission to enter buildings that are open to the public, in order to perform their duties.

Section 287 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) confers very broad law enforcement powers upon ICE personnel, including the authority to interrogate, without warrant, any persons believed to be an alien, as to their right to be or to remain in the United States. And nowhere in the INA does it say that DHS officers can’t arrest someone in a courthouse.

So, where is Time coming up with this silliness? You’d think anyone with a television, who has watched an episode of Law & Order, would know that people are regularly taken into custody in courts throughout the United States. And that makes sense: courthouses are where you find bad guys. A significant number of people appearing in courtrooms are there because they did illegal things – like failing to comply with the terms of their probation, not paying child support, and violating protective orders. The very things that bring you to the attention of ICE if you are an illegal alien and that make you subject to deportation if you were lawfully admitted to the U.S.

However, logic, and the law, aren’t really the issue here. The open-borders agitators, and their mainstream media handmaidens, are flogging the narrative that courthouses are special places where people go to obtain “services.” They’re concerned that the big, meanies who work for ICE will make immigration violators afraid to show up and obtain the “court services” they desperately need.

That’s funny, because American taxpayers seem to be under the impression that they fund courts to oversee the public administration of justice – not to hand out benefits to those who have no right to be here, or those who have violated the terms of their stay by committing a crime. The average U.S. citizen also seems to think that illegal aliens should be afraid of being arrested by ICE – most of us who don’t work in the media call that deterrence. The law tends to work better when folks who violate it are afraid of getting caught.

For now, ICE is pushing back against attorneys and judges who would interfere with the performance of its duties. But if the Trump administration knuckles under to the alien advocates, then ICE and CBP may be limited to arresting bad guys in public parking lots. Until someone complains that we don’t want to make immigration law breakers scared to buy cars.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. Pingback: Follow the Yellow Brick Road…To the Nearest “Safe Zone” |