Federal immigration officials reportedly arrested an illegal immigrant in Texas who was seeking help for domestic violence.
Irvin Gonzalez, who is identified as a transgender woman, was arrested on Feb. 9 at the El Paso County Courthouse. She had just received a protective order against her live-in boyfriend, the El Paso Times reported Wednesday.
ICE agents acted on a tip, possibly from the boyfriend.
The arrest has sparked concerns that illegal immigrants who face domestic abuse may stay with their abusers over fear of being detained and deported.
Jo Anne Bernal, the El Paso county attorney, who is representing Gonzalez, said protective-order courts were no place for illegal immigrant raids.
“Our clients come to us at the lowest point in their lives,” Bernal told the paper. “Many of them are so frightened of coming to us because of possible immigration concerns.”
A criminal complaint in the U.S. District Court in El Paso indicates that the person with the same name as Gonzalez may have a history of deportation and domestic violence, according to the paper. Bernal said she wasn’t aware of the complaint.
The complaint, which was filed on Feb. 9, stated that Gonzalez had been deported six times since 2010 after arrests for possession of stolen mail, false imprisonment and assault.
El Paso County officials said they hope immigration enforcement officials do not make a habit of arresting illegal immigrants at the courthouse acting on tips from alleged abusers.
“There’s no place for that — especially in family court,” 65th District Judge Yahara Lisa Gutierrez, who oversees Gonzalez’s protective order, told the paper.
Gonzalez is being held in the El Paso County Jail under an ICE detainer.