‘Stalking’ the Undocumented Immigrant: California Objects to Immigration Enforcement Tactics at Courthouses
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye recently sent a letter (PDF) to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expressing concerns about reports that immigration agents “appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.”
In the letter, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said that courthouses “should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.” She noted that courts are the main point of contact for crime victims and witnesses. “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,” she noted.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye said she is concerned about “the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system” if the public feels that state institutions are being used to facilitate goals and objectives other than their primary purpose. She said that “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.” Among other things, she said that such actions “undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice,” and requested that this type of enforcement not be pursued.