Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has written a letter to officials at the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), demanding that the agency remove its officers from New York State’s courts.

If that removal is not forthcoming, Borough President Diaz is asking Hon. Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the New York State Court System, to refuse to allow State court officers and other court personnel to cooperate with immigration officials in a courthouse absent a warrant from a Federal judge, and, further, to ban immigration officers from the State’s courthouses, extending New York State’s sanctuary state policy to the courts.

“The presence of ICE agents in New York State courtrooms has had a chilling effect on justice in our state,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “We have heard from advocacy organizations that individuals are not coming to court in our state for fear of being arrested by immigration agents and then deported. This is preventing the fair adjudication of cases within our system, and is an affront to the concept of impartial justice. Governor Cuomo has correctly declared New York to be a sanctuary state, and these protections must extend to our court system.”

In the letter, the borough president notes that failing to come to court can have grave consequences in a wide variety of areas, and that fear of deportation should not be clouding the legal process.

“[ICE’s] approach and its ideological roots would be problematic in any context. But when it is employed in a place that undermines our society’s pursuit of justice, the courthouse, it is no longer just a problem,” wrote Borough President Diaz.  “It is an offense to decency.”

Read the full letter at