On Thursday, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court asked federal immigration agents to stop arresting people at courthouses, saying that access to justice was compromised by agents using the facilities to effectively stalk undocumented immigrants. Chief Justice, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, sent a letter to top immigration officials, expressing her concerns about recent reports of immigrants being tracked down and arrested at courthouses by immigration agents. She argued that such activities will harm the public’s faith in the court system.
In the letter, sent to John Kelly, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, the Justice said that using courthouses as bait to enforce immigration laws should not happen. She added that the victims of domestic violence and general crime go to court to seek due process and justice.
No immediate comment was made on the letter by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a spokesman for the Justice Department also declined to make a comment on the issue. There have been several arrests at courthouses in Oregon, Texas, and California, as President Donald Trump has called on federal immigration agents to increase the number of deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Federal immigration agents see courthouses as safe places to make arrests due to the presence of metal detectors. But immigrant advocates decry the practice, saying that immigrants will be too scared to go to hearings or even to report crimes to police.