Saturday, November 30, 2019
Douglas Keith for the Brennan Center for Justice provides an update on state resistance to federal immigration arrests at state courthouses. In 2017, the Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, was the first to protest federal immigration arrests at California courthouses.
Keith reports that, since President Trump took office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have dramatically increased their presence in state courthouses.
ICE officers have walked the halls, sat in courtrooms, and questioned court attendees and staff, trying to identify and arrest people in court for cases unrelated to immigration. The people they target may be appearing as a defendant or witness, seeking a restraining order against an abusive partner, or seeking custody of their children.
Advocates have documented the chilling effect ICE’s presence has on courthouse access — deterring victims, survivors, and witnesses from pursuing justice and using court services — and the resulting harm it does to the justice system. That’s why judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and advocates have demanded an end to ICE’s courthouse activities.
ICE has repeatedly rejected these appeals. 2019 has seen momentum build against courthouse immigration arrests as several states have taken action.
This month, Oregon became the latest state to push ICE out of its courthouses, prompting a protest from the ICE.
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