NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Local community and legal groups are asking a federal court to block ICE agents from conducting immigration arrests in and around state courthouses. The plaintiffs include the office of the Attorney General, the Public Defender’s Office and local immigrants’ rights groups. They claim, since 2017, ICE officers have increasingly used New Mexico courthouses as venues for arresting people suspected of violating Civil Immigration Law. The lawsuit alleges ICE’s arresting practices violate federal law and create an unconstitutional barrier to accessing justice in court.

“It is extremely important for the function of the New Mexico courts system for the federal government to be told do not come to the courthouse. Let the New Mexico courts function. Let people show up,” said Bennett Burr, chief public defender.

ICE sent News 13 a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation but that should not be considered as an agreement with or stipulation to any of the allegations.