April 19, 2017

“California chief justice: The courthouse is not the place for immigration enforcement” [Updated]

In a Washington Post op-ed, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye today continues her advocacy for keeping federal immigration agents out of California’s courthouses.  (Related:  here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Speaking as “a former prosecutor, a judge and the wife of a retired police officer,” the Chief Justice agrees with federal officials “that law-enforcement officials strive to ‘perform their duties with the highest degree of professionalism and public service,’” but she disagrees with them “on where that enforcement should occur.”  She says that “immigration arrests, or the fear of arrests at or near courthouses, disrupt court activities and the lives of those seeking justice” and she worries that “both documented and undocumented immigrants will no longer cooperate with state and local law-enforcement agencies; crimes or civil wrongs will go unreported and communities will live in fear.”

The Post identifies Cantil-Sakauye as “the chief justice on the California state Supreme Court.”  Regarding this issue, however, she is speaking not as the head of the Supreme Court, but as the leader of California’s judicial branch of government.

[Update:  An additional “related” link is added above.  Also, a recent New Yorker piece — “The Trump Era Tests the True Power of Sanctuary Cities” — mentions the Chief Justice’s letter last month, which complained of courthouse immigration arrests, and the administration’s response to the letter.  It discusses various courthouse arrests around the country, including one where ICE agents “followed a woman into a court where she was seeking a protective order against an abusive boyfriend.”  The Chief Justice has characterized the agents’ conduct in general as “stalking.”]

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