“I am asking ICE to reconsider their policy and treat the courthouse with respect,” Mr. Gonzalez said in the interview.
ICE has said that it goes to courthouses because it is safer than trying to detain someone at home or on the street. Sarah Rodriguez, the agency’s spokeswoman, said that despite the demand by the New York officials, “ICE plans to continue arresting individuals in courthouse environments as necessary, based on operational circumstances.”
Ms. Rodriguez said that those picked up by ICE “often have significant criminal histories.”
ICE officers have made 53 arrests in or around courts in New York State since January, compared to 11 arrests in 2016 and 14 in 2015, according to the Immigrant Defense Project, an advocacy group. Thirty-five of the arrests were made in or around city courthouses, including one on Thursday in Brooklyn.
The state Office of Court Administration said there were 52 instances of ICE officials identifying themselves to court officers; they made 30 arrests, 25 of which occurred in the city. The office did not keep statistics in previous years.
The number of ICE arrests in the five boroughs is higher than other areas in the state because jails in most counties are allowed to hand over prisoners to ICE.
While there are no numbers that suggest either defendants or witnesses are staying away from court, and thus impeding trials, Mr. Gonzalez said his office’s ability to prosecute cases was nonetheless affected: “Witnesses are not willing to come forward and cooperate.”
Mr. Gonzalez added that ICE’s arrests had undermined the trust people have in the justice system.
The Immigrant Defense Project said that, based on reports from lawyers, some of those recently arrested were charged with offenses like driving without a license or disorderly conduct and that one young man facing “minor charges” in juvenile court in Suffolk County had been seized.
Under the Obama administration, undocumented immigrants with those types of arrests or convictions were not a priority for deportation, but President Trump has made clear that all people in the country illegally are targets.
Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors more controls on immigration, said in an email that the issue was not that ICE is interfering with the criminal justice system, but that New York’s so-called sanctuary policies “are interfering with…