DERBY, Conn. (WTNH) — A man took refuge in the Derby courthouse on Thursday in an effort to avoid Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
Shaundrece Beckford told News 8 that her husband, Domar Shearer, of Ansonia, wasn’t leaving because ICE agents are waiting outside to arrest him for deportation.
Beckford said he came here from Jamaica on a visa but overstayed.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU), the agents entered the courthouse to try and take him into custody. Officials said activists with Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA) were able to prevent the seizure from happening.
“Today, activists with Unidad Latina en Acción were able to protect a Connecticut man from being seized by ICE at a Connecticut courthouse, and they never should have had to do so,” the group said in a statement. “ICE should not be in Connecticut’s courthouses, and it should not have been in the Derby courthouse today. When ICE uses courthouses as hunting grounds for deportation, they are undermining public safety and justice, and they are hurting our communities. Today’s is the most recent example of ICE jeopardizing safety and justice by attempting to deport people in and around Connecticut courthouses. It is long past time for the Connecticut Judicial Branch, including judicial marshals, to start standing up for safety and justice by adopting the policies, procedures, and rules necessary to keep ICE out of Connecticut courthouses, and the legislature must do its part to ensure the same.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said he believed the ICE agents should have left.
“Courthouses should be regarded as places to go where people can seek justice or be held accountable for violations of law,” Blumenthal said. “Maintaining the rule of law and orderly conduct of justice is paramount. That is why I supported the Chief Court Administrator in this situation.”
Blumenthal contacted the Regional and Connecticut offices of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency strongly urging ICE to comply with Chief Court Administrator Carroll’s request that ICE agents leave the Derby Superior Courthouse and allow for the court to function properly.
After five hours of rallying in protest, ICE agents left without Shearer.
“ICE is disrupting the administration of justice in our courts, snatching people away before they can see the judge and have their day in court,” said John Lugo, community organizer with ULA. “Today we showed that if the people come together, we can protect our courts from ICE terror. We can protect justice in our courts.”
“We will continue to build the rapid response network so that we are in every courthouse protecting our community,” said Kica Matos, Director of Immigration and Racial Justice at Vera Institute. “We demand that the Connecticut Judicial Branch take action to get ICE out of our courts. Connecticut state police and judicial marshals must follow the Connecticut TRUST Act instead of helping ICE disrupt due process in our courts.”
Shearer was taken to a safe location.