Immigrants often suffer an undeserved reputation in America as being criminal or dangerous. The truth is that many immigrants just want a peaceful life for themselves and their family. However, immigration enforcement has grown increasingly harsh.

In the whirlwind of the current political climate, individual cities now find themselves defending immigrants in a battle against federal organizations. Much to the dismay of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sanctuary cities sprung up to protect residents who were undocumented, pending status or otherwise at possible risk for removal. However, ICE may have found a way to strike back.

new directive will allow deportation agents to enter courthouses and arrest certain people. Their targets may include:

  • Gang affiliates
  • Previously deported immigrants who re-entered illegally
  • Those who threaten public safety
  • Convicted criminals
  • Those who refuse a prior deportation order

While these groups of people may have ended up in a local jail, they may now land in ICE custody instead. According to the document, agents will most likely not detain their family members. While agents are supposed to “avoid” making arrests in civil court cases, such as divorce or personal injury lawsuits, they are not forbidden from doing so.

California’s chief justice has warned that such arrests could lead to more aggressive ICE tactics, such as making arrests in schools and churches. In addition, the threat of deportation could scare immigrants from reporting crime, which could hinder the justice system. Other immigration advocacy groups agree that this decision is harmful to communities.

Deportation is almost always a frightening prospect. Immigrants are encouraged to do all that they can to abide by the law in order to avoid ICE encounters and stay in America.