California Chief Justice Demands ICE Stop "Stalking Courthouses And Arresting Undocumented Immigrants"

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California’s Chief Supreme Court Justice, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, is apparently annoyed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are “stalking courthouses” in California to arrest illegal immigrants.  Of course, only a California judge would ignore the inherent irony of this situation as ICE officials are only forced to “stalk courthouses” because Tani’s court refuses to enforce federal laws. 

Here are some excerpts from the letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Secretary Mike Kelly:

As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.

 

Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.

 

But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California’s courthouses.

Cali

 

As a California NBC affiliate notes, the letter from Cantil-Sakauye comes after a number of reports have surfaced in recent weeks of arrests of illegal immigrants at courts in California, Oregon and Texas.

It comes amid a series of reports of arrests at courthouses in California, Oregon and Texas as federal immigration agents have been called on to step up deportations under President Donald Trump.

 

Last month, immigration agents in Texas arrested a woman at an El Paso courthouse while she was obtaining a protection order against an alleged abuser. The arrest sparked an outcry from victim’s advocates, saying it would dissuade others from coming forward to report abuse for fear of being deported.

 

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that immigration agents had recently made several arrests at courthouses in Oregon and California.

Dear Tani, Might we kindly suggest that you actually make an effort to enforce the laws, rather than your personal political beliefs, before you lecture the rest of us about this country’s “core value of fairness” and/or policies that “undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice.”  Gracias.

 

Full letter below:

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly:

 As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.

 Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.

 Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives. Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law. As finders of fact, trial courts strive to mitigate fear to ensure fairness and protect legal rights. Our work is critical for ensuring public safety and the efficient administration of justice.

 Most Americans have more daily contact with their state and local governments than with the federal government, and 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.

Each layer of government – federal, state, and local – provides a portion of the fabric of our society that preserves law and order and protects the rights and freedoms of the people. The separation of powers and checks and balances at the various levels and branches of government ensure the harmonious existence of the rule of law.

 The federal and state governments share power in countless ways, and our roles and responsibilities are balanced for the public good. As officers of the court, we judges uphold the constitutions of both the United States and California, and the executive branch does the same by ensuring that our laws are fairly and safely enforced. But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California’s courthouses.

—Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

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