A man in upstate New York State worked in a sanctuary organization that protected immigrants and helped them understand their rights better. Some of the training was then used to keep ICE officers from detaining two undocumented migrants in the car with him. The officers claimed they had “a warrant of arrest of alien” after the man and two migrants left a courthouse after dealing with some minor traffic citations. They had not been in the car for more than 20 seconds before ICE pulled them over.
Refusing to acknowledge the warrant as valid
The driver looked at the warrant and told the two officers that they did not have a warrant signed by a judge. Since there was no judge’s signature, the judicial warrant was not valid. The incident, recorded by a passenger, was posted here. The man also called an attorney, whom he put on speaker – this enabled the attorney to provide legal guidance in real-time, and come to the scene.
The officers continued to argue that they did have a valid warrant. Their mistake was claiming that it was a legal warrant. In reality, it was an order signed under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, which made it a Department of Homeland Security order and not an official warrant under the U.S. Constitution. The driver was undergoing Department of Justice-accredited training, and he had a copy of a real warrant in the car with him that enabled him to tell the difference between the warrant and the order.
Officers made threats
At this point, ICE officers altered their tactics by asking if the driver knew the laws regarding the transportation and harboring of “illegal aliens.” To ICE’s way of thinking, the man “interfered with the enforcement action, causing officers to depart the scene instead to avoid further disruption.”
Laws protect migrants too
ICE and other law enforcement officers will often mistakenly try to dismiss the rights of migrants because they believe that the constitution does not apply to undocumented citizens. As the man in the video proves, this is not true. Many of those arrested can successfully fight against the trumped-up charges with an attorney who understands immigration law and criminal law.