County officials also released surveillance tapes that appear to support their claims.
Homeland Security Investigations Border Enforcement Security Taskforce agents learned she was back in the USA - possibly tipped off by her abuser - who is jailed on charges of forgery of a financial document. Judge Joe Gonzalez granted that protective order.
Calls Thursday to ICE were not returned. But the woman was an undocumented immigrant, and six Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents showed up at the courthouse to arrest her. "We later learned there were up to 10 ICE agents in the courthouse looking for our client". The camera in front of the courthouse shows the men walking the woman to a waiting auto at 9:45 a.m.
Irvin Gonzalez, who is identified as a transgender woman, was arrested by six agents at the El Paso County Courthouse. Bernal said she believes that the woman was set up by her abusive boyfriend who knew the details of her court appearance. Gonzalez's live-in boyfriend had earlier been detained by ICE, Bernal said.
Bernal, El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar and domestic violence campaigners are now anxious the arrest will keep men and women living with abusive partners from seeking out help. "Gonzalez was taken into custody and transported" to an ICE facility. "A person would be considered violent if there was a warrant out for them", the county attorney said.
"When you look at the power dynamic, it would be easy for a perpetrator to threaten or actually use immigration authorities", she said to ATTN.
When the three emerged into a back hallway, two agents approached Gonzalez and, in Spanish, inquired about her name and immigration status, Flores Camarena said.
"It is our job to protect victims", she said at Thursday's news conference.
Esparza said the goal of Friday's meeting with federal officials is to make it clear that immigration agents should enforce immigration law outside of the courthouse. She said she wants to establish a good relationship with local ICE officials and get assurance that this type of arrest won't happen again. When the Act was last renewed, provisions were added that ensured confidentiality and protected victims who were undocumented from being detained or deported when reporting the crime. The El Paso Times reports that the ICE officers acted on a tip from an unidentified source.
"In all our years in this courthouse", she said, "none of us can recall an incident where immigration authorities made their presence known inside a courtroom-and especially not a courtroom reserved for victims of domestic violence".
News of the woman's detainment has concerned many El Paso residents, who fear it will discourage undocumented victims of violence from seeking legal protection.
Local news reports that in a criminal complaint filed on Feb 9, ICE agents said they received a call from the alleged abuser - now serving a sentence for forgery - that the victim would be appearing in court on that day and was staying at a local women's shelter. "It sends a really strong message to victims and survivors that there is no safe place".
De Avila was the only other individual who was sent a notice about the February 9 court proceeding, Bernal said.