Lehigh Valley

New controversy among Trump administration, law enforcement over immigration

VIDEO DHS immigration crackdown

A report from the Wall Street Journal states a homeland security official said immigration agents can arrest undocumented immigrants who are crime victims and witnesses at courthouses.

"They are going to be afraid that if they go to court to testify against somebody, immigration might be waiting for them out there," said Raymond Lahoud, an immigration attorney.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli agrees with the Department of Homeland Security.

"There's a lot of folks out there who think that there are certain rights that these folks have once they arrive they get rights, they don't really have the right to be in the country period," Morganelli said. "If they just ran across the border, they don't have a visa they don't have any type of legal immigration papers they are not allowed to be here."

This isn't something new, but it's causing controversy because the report says it highlights the growing dispute between the Trump administration and some state court officials who fear this practice could hinder law enforcement.

"This is really just propaganda that these folks that are being arrested somehow are hurting law enforcement," Morganelli said.

Morganelli said people who aren't citizens can apply for a U visa that allows a person to remain here who is a witness or a crime victim until their case is heard and it gives them temporary status.

Lahoud said his clients are fearful and won't report crimes. And if they don't report crimes, they won't be eligible for U visas.

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