Federal court upholds deportation of immigrant arrested at Northampton County Courthouse – Allentown Morning Call

The Phillipsburg man came to the Northampton County Courthouse this year for a hearing in his drunken-driving case. An undocumented immigrant, he left court in handcuffs, with local authorities arresting him in order to turn him over to immigration agents for deportation.

But even assuming that Raul A. Romero-Matos’ arrest was illegal, he can still be legally deported, the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in upholding an order that calls for him to be swiftly removed from the country.

The decision was heralded by District Attorney John Morganelli, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration who called it a victory for his get-tough policies. It was denounced by lawyers for Matos, who said it will have a chilling effect on immigrants seeking to assert their rights in the local justice system without fear of being taken into custody and deported.

“It’s a scary decision. It’s a really scary decision,” said Kevin Santos, one of Matos’ attorneys, who was challenging the constitutionality of his arrest, charging authorities lacked either a warrant or an immigration detainer.

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