After courthouse arrest, faith leaders call for stronger stand against ICE

Faith leaders gathered in St. Paul Friday to share concerns over what they call an "abuse of power" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The calls stem from an incident at the Ramsey County Courthouse last week, where a man was detained after a court hearing. The arrest was captured on video.

44-year-old Carlos Enrique Urrutia was in court for a sentencing hearing for allegedly hitting a pedestrian with his car in 2017 while under the influence of alcohol.

Urrutia is a Mexican citizen who has lived in the United States for about 25 years.

According to the organization ISAIAH, he is a leader for a Twin Cities Roman Catholic congregation.

The judged sentenced Urrutia to probation. Shortly after the hearing, he was detained by ICE officers.

In the video, Urrutia’s supporters are heard asking for the officers’ identification.

One of the agents is heard saying: “No, I don’t need to present you with anything. We’re effecting an arrest.”

At a news conference Friday outside the Ramsey County Courthouse, faith leaders called on Ramsey County Commissioners to pass a separation ordinance, preventing county departments from sharing information with ICE.

“This has gone on long enough, the faith community is outraged. We will not allow this to continue in our state. We will be conducting meetings and we will be taking next steps with these public officials to bring about change about immigration actions in this state,” said Imam Asad Zaman with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

The group also wants a legal defense fund set up for those charged with immigration violations.

“If this is happening in our courthouses, this is happening in people’s homes, and in our community. This should not be happening in Minnesota and that is why we are here today. Because what happened here is not an isolated event,” said ISAIAH organizer Catalina Morales.

Urrutia was originally set to be deported on Wednesday, but his deportation was delayed. He is currently in the Sherburne County Jail.

An ICE spokesperson released the following statement:

On July 26, 2018, deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Carlos Enrique Urrutia, 44, a citizen of Mexico, on immigration violations.  As the impromptu video shows, the ICE officers identified themselves to Urrutia prior to his arrest at Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota. ICE officers arrested Urrutia immediately after he was convicted of a felony for injuring a pedestrian with his vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in March 2017.

Urrutia has three prior criminal convictions, including two previous driving while intoxicated convictions. 

Urrutia remains in ICE custody pending the resolution of his request with the U.S. Court of Appeals (Eighth Circuit).