Targets of ICE raids may have missed court dates they were never aware of, attorney says

On Friday, President Trump confirmed nationwide immigration raids will begin Sunday.

Reports signal Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents will focus on a list of about 2,000 migrants with final orders for removal.

Andrea Guttin with Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative says 80 percent of the individuals on that list did not show up for their court date. Likely, she adds, because they were not aware of when they had to go.

"That's because these are those 'rocket dockets' since September of 2018, where they've just tried to push people through the system and clearly have not given people sufficient notice," Guttin explained.

Guttin says notices are mailed to the wrong address because someone only updated their address with ICE not knowing they also had to update it with the immigration court.

She also says some notices are wrong.

"For instance, they're cases when someone goes to court, the court is closed," she added.

Guttin pointed out there is not right to an attorney in immigration court like in criminal cases. Those without immigration attorneys, she says, are more likely to miss their court dates.

She believes targeting those migrants, many of whom are seeking asylum, is unfair.

"It's extremely unjust to go after families who never had a true day in court with due process," Guttin told FOX 26.

The ACLU of New York filed in a federal lawsuit in response to this issue. 

The suit argues many seeking asylum have failed to appear in court because of "massive bureaucratic errors and, in some cases, deliberate misdirection by immigration enforcement agencies."

Meanwhile, the ACLU of Texas is pushing it's mobile app, MigraCam, to record any interactions people have with ICE agents. The app automatically starts recording video once it is opened and live streams the video to contacts the user has designated.

"In the event that your phone gets taken away at least the videos have already been sent to emergency contacts," said Edgar Saldivar, Senior Attorney with the organization.

The ACLU will also get a copy.

"We take a look to see if there's something egregious, potential violation of constitutional rights, and then we can follow up on that," Saldivar added.

He says the app was created in response to the increase in ICE activity after President Trump took office.

Attorneys and activists worry about ICE going after "collateral" or people who they do not have warrants for but are in the home of their target.

Guttin and Saldivar are both helping with the Houston Immigrants' Rights Hotline 1-833-468-4664. The hotline will operate on Sunday.