EASTON, Pa. - Northampton County's executive issued a new order Tuesday after an undocumented immigrant was arrested at the courthouse.
In a 25-second video posted online, defense attorney Josh Fulmer demands a federal immigration agent show a warrant to arrest his client, 32-year-old Franklin Urrutia Cordon. When asked if the agent had a warrant, the agent said it was in his car.
"I was flabbergasted...it was so fundamentally wrong," Fulmer said.
"I feel he did not have the due process that's required, you should be served a warrant if you're being arrested," Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure said. "It's important for the federal government to enforce our immigration laws, it's also important for us to stand up for the principle of due process. If you're going to be placed in handcuffs, there should be a warrant."
So he signed an executive order that now requires federal agents to show a warrant for undocumented people to be turned over inside the courthouse. It doesn't apply elsewhere.
Urrutia Cordon is originally from Guatemala and has lived here about 12 years. His attorney says he's married to a U.S. citizen, pays taxes, and has applied for lawful status.
Fulmer says Monday's hearing was related to a 2017 DUI case and never caught ICE's attention before.
District Attorney Terry Houck says his office honors detainers but does not contact immigration.
"On March 2, officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) arrested Franklin Urrutia-Cordon, a 32 year-old citizen of Guatemala, illegally present in the United States for immigration related violations," ICE officials said in a statement.
"Urrutia-Cordon was previously arrested by the Bethlehem Police Department on Sept. 13, 2017, and charged with driving under the influence. Those charges are pending. He remains in ICE custody pending the disposition of his immigration proceedings."
ICE said its officers are are authorized to make warrantless arrests. ICE said it is not required to get a criminal judicial warrant to take custody of someone on civil immigration violations.
It said supervisory immigration officers, not judges, have the authority to issue a warrant for a civil immigration violation. Current ICE policy says agency personnel must avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official. ICE says courthouses are not considered sensitive locations.