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ACLU Claims Danbury Courthouse Fiasco An Example Of ICE Hindering Justice

Frankie Graziano
Connecticut Public Radio
ACLU-CT legal director Dan Barrett says that fear of ICE arrest could convince undocumented migrants to forego justice system.

Immigration agents approached a Danbury man outside of a courthouse in that city last Friday. Samuel Cruz-Coctecon, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, attempted to escape, but did so into oncoming traffic and was hit by a car and injured.

Cruz-Coctecon, 25, was at the courthouse to be sentenced after pleading guilty to domestic violence charges. He didn’t know that federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers would be waiting for him when he showed up to a state courthouse for a sentencing hearing.

It’s an immigration practice that’s happening more and more under President Donald Trump.

“ICE being there scared this guy away from coming to face the music,” said Dan Barrett, the legal director for the Connecticut chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. “If you think that law and order means people being punished for a variety of things, then you really ought to be worried, because in the future, what incentive does a person have to follow our state law procedure -- come to court, participate in the process -- if they know that ICE is going to be there?”

After being treated at a local hospital, Cruz-Coctecon was released into ICE custody. On Monday, an ICE spokesman issued a statement to Connecticut Public Radio.

“Cruz-Coctecon is now in ICE custody, where he’ll remain pending his removal from the United States pursuant to a 2013 removal order from immigration court,” said John Mohan.

He’s due back in court for sentencing on August 3, if he can make it.

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