ICE arrest near courthouse raises judicial concerns, R.I. chief justice says

ICE arrest near courthouse raises judicial concerns, R.I. chief justice says

The Westerly Sun


PROVIDENCE (AP) — The chief justice of Rhode Island’s highest court, reacting to the arrest of a Syrian man outside the Licht Judicial Complex in Providence earlier this month, says courthouses should be accessible to all people.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell criticized the arrest of Abulkhalek Darwich, of Pawcatuck, in an address Friday at the annual meeting of the Rhode Island Bar Association.

A spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Darwich was taken into custody June 1 for overstaying his guest visa by 19 years.

Suttell said he understood that courthouses had not been included in the category of “sensitive locations,” like schools, places of worship and hospitals, where ICE typically does not operate.

Suttell said that if immigrants are afraid to come to court for judicial relief, out of fear of being detained, “our mission is compromised,” as is community safety, the Providence Journal reported.

Suttell said that The National Center of State Courts and Conference of Chief Justices are working with Homeland Security representatives and the ICE’s acting director to establish protocols.




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