ICE agents at Travis County courthouses looking for suspects


5:40 p.m. update: Juan Coronilla-Guerrero was one of dozens of unauthorized immigrants released from the local jail after Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez implemented a new policy to not honor many ICE detainers.

Coronilla-Guerrero’s wife, in a news release from the immigrant advocacy group Grassroots Leadership, confirmed that Coronilla-Guerrero was one of more than 30 immigrants released in the days following Hernandez’s implementation of a policy that greatly limited cooperation with ICE requests to hold suspected undocumented immigrants.

“My husband was one of the 36 immigrants who could leave the jail under the (sheriff’s policy) and even though he had an immigration order, he wanted to do the right thing and he appeared at his second court date,” said Coronilla-Guerrero’s wife, who withheld her name because she fears reprisals from immigration officials.

Earlier: ICE agents in Austin on Friday detained an immigrant suspected of being in the country illegally at the Travis County courthouse, in what appears to be a new tactic by immigration officials.

Defense attorney Daniel Betts confirmed to the American-Statesman that his client, Juan Coronilla-Guerrero, was detained at the courthouse, where was scheduled to appear for two misdemeanor charges, assault-family violence and possession of marijuana.

Betts said his client was arrested in an elevator at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center.

The Travis County sheriff’s office confirmed that ICE agents were at the courthouse serving a warrant.

Attorney George Lobb, who saw the arrest, said the paperwork he saw was not a warrant or other court order.

“It struck me as extraordinary,” said Betts, who added that his client was in court expressly to resolve the misdemeanor charges so we would not run into problems with immigration.

“I told my client a week and a half ago that I didn’t think ICE would be at the courts, but we see how that turned out.”

Earlier:

Federal immigration agents were at two separate Travis County courthouses on Friday morning and arrested at least one defendant who was arriving for a court hearing, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said, based on preliminary information she had received.

The man was detained before agents notified the judge or defense attorney in his case, evoking new fears about immigration agents using the courts to nab people believed to be in the country illegally.

Eckhardt said she is working to obtain additional information from judges and other staff.

STATESMAN EXCLUSIVE: Meet the immigrants arrested in Austin ICE raids

The report of federal agents looking for suspects at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center and the Heman Sweatt Travis County Courthouse comes three weeks after an ICE enforcement operation centered on Austin and four other metro areas across the US that led to the arrests of 683 people.

In the past, deportation proceedings in Travis County have largely been prompted by an arrest that led to immigration checks. But during the four-day enforcement operation, ICE officials were out in the community, pulling people over and taking them in.

The mid-February ICE raids fueled speculation that Austin was being singled out because of recent controversy over newly elected Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s policy to deny most of the agency’s requests to delay the release of inmates at the Travis County jail for immigration checks.

IN-DEPTH: Is ICE targeting Austin? Local leaders ask agency that question

Check back for updates on this developing story.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Tennessee State football player arrested after video shows him punching coach, police say
Tennessee State football player arrested after video shows him punching coach, police say

A Tennessee State University football player who was kicked off the team and expelled after he was caught on video punching his assistant coach earlier this month has been arrested in connection with the attack, according to police. Jail records show Latrelle Lee, 22, was arrested Monday night. He was charged with one count of aggravated assault causing...
Washington museum tells story of the Bible, opens near National Mall
Washington museum tells story of the Bible, opens near National Mall

The Museum of the Bible that opened Nov. 17 just a few blocks from the National Mall is a spectacular and in many ways unexpected addition to the museum inventory of Washington — and the United States. It is, in part, a repository of Bibles from all parts of the world, and throughout history but it also tells the stories of the Bible and its...
Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base
Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base

One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials. The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said. Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families...
FORECAST: Unseasonably warm temps to reach 76; give thanks for sunshine all week
FORECAST: Unseasonably warm temps to reach 76; give thanks for sunshine all week

Tuesday forecast for Austin: Daily temperatures are expected to become unseasonably high before winds shift and push them back down to a more autumnal levels for the rest of the week. The National Weather Service outlook calls for mostly sunny skies on Tuesday coupled with warm south-southwest winds that will help boost temperatures to a high near...
Lakeway City Council discusses citizen engagement measures
Lakeway City Council discusses citizen engagement measures

A couple city council members want the city of Lakeway to up its efforts at engaging the community, and are proposing several measures to accomplish this. During the Nov. 20 council meeting, Councilwoman Jean Hennagin made a presentation for a Lakeway “engagement committee,” and put forward ideas brainstormed along with Councilman Keith...
More Stories