Immigration Law

California chief justice: Courthouses shouldn't be used as bait in immigration enforcement

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Tani Cantil-Sakauye

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

California’s chief justice is expressing concern about immigration agents who “appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses.”

The chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly after hearing reports that immigrants in the country illegally were being arrested in courthouses by agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and Jurist have stories on her letter.

“Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote.

Cantil-Sakauye said courthouses are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of stress and crisis. “I am concerned about the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be,” she said.

ICE said in a statement that immigration agents make arrests at courthouses only after other options have been exhausted. Many of those targeted for arrest at courthouses have prior criminal convictions, the statement said.

Related articles: “Did judge help immigrant escape ICE agents waiting outside courtroom? Federal prosecutor complains” “Woman in courthouse to obtain protective order is arrested by ICE agents”

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