‘Courthouses are sometimes the only location that ICE can expect a fugitive/criminal alien to appear at a scheduled time…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A Cincinnati judge is facing criticism for saying he regularly alerts Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers if he believes a defendant is in the country illegally, according to local news outlet WCPO.
The judge, Robert Ruehlman, told WCPO that he calls ICE “10 to 20 times a year” in the Common Pleas Court in Hamilton County, Ohio.
“They speak Spanish, they’re charged with carrying a lot of drugs, and they’re not from here,” he explained. “It’s pretty clear they’re illegal immigrants, you know, and if it turns out they are a citizen, then there’s no harm, no foul.”
Several liberal activist groups immediately claimed Ruelhman engaged in racially profiling and alleged that Ruelhman makes his courtroom less safe by introducing a “fear of deportation.”
But Ruelhman said a fear of deportation has “never come up,” and that it’s “just a red herring thrown in by the people against it who think that we should allow people that are here illegally to stay.”
Ruehlman acknowledged that his believe in the integrity of federal immigration laws guided his decision-making.
“I call ICE in a minute. I have no problem calling ICE,” Ruehlman said. “I do not think every judge does that. I think I’m the only judge that does that, but I do. I think it’s important.”
Ruehlman explained that he uses “common sense” to determine whether a defendant is an illegal immigrant, and then he said he calls ICE and says, “‘I think we have an illegal immigrant here.’ And they confirm it. I give them the name and birthdate and where they’re from. They run them. They say, ‘Yeah.’ Then they go to the jail and they put a holder on them.”
ICE spokesperson Khaalid Walls said Ruehlman’s willingness to work with ICE is refreshing given the choice “many law enforcement agencies” have made to “no longer honor ICE detainers.”
“Courthouses are sometimes the only location that ICE can expect a fugitive/criminal alien to appear at a scheduled time, and courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband,” Walls explained. “So, the safety risks for the arresting ICE officers and for the arrestee are substantially diminished.”
Alternatively, he noted, the obstruction by local law-enforcement and courtrooms to ICE’s efforts endangered not only the agents and the alleged illegals, but also otheres within the community.
“When ICE officers have to go out into the community to proactively locate these criminal aliens, regardless of the precautions they take, it needlessly puts our personnel and potentially innocent bystanders in harm’s way,” Walls said.