Two judges requested ICE to stop raids in courthouses as it creates an unsafe environment for illegal immigrants to testify on other judicial matters. This practice is completely legal but was recently increased in response to the sanctuary city policies enacted in some locations. Those sanctuary policies force ICE to arrest criminal aliens in public locations and the safest public location for ICE agents would be courthouses. Here criminals have to enter unarmed and therefore can be captured with less risk for the immigration enforcement agent.
Two states supreme court judges have complained about this practice: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye from the California Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst, Washington Supreme Court.
ICE justifies this practice by the fact that many of these arrests regard foreign nationals who have prior criminal convictions in the US. This wasn’t necessary before sanctuary cities began ignoring detainer requests and releasing criminal aliens back onto the streets.
Courthouses to Become Sensitive Locations?
ICE detainers are intended to take custody of a criminal immigrant as soon as he is released from previous convictions. The person is then detained in an ICE facility and goes through removal hearings leading to his final deportation.
When ICE detainers are not respected by local police and law enforcement officers, ICE needs to go after the criminal immigrant by themselves and capture him or her in a public, safe location.
Homeland Security has replied to the California judge defending the practice, but it is possible that ICE could add courthouses to the list of so-called “sensitive locations” along with schools, hospitals, and churches.
Although, it seems unlikely considering the high level of controversy existing on sanctuary city policies. Some critics say that these judges are lobbying for one side of the heated national debate on the issue.
“It’s not up to the judiciary to tell ICE where and how and when they should be detaining people. The court is there to adjudicate cases and controversies.”
ICE doesn’t track arrest locations so they can’t tell whether there has been an actual increase in arrests performed in courthouses. For sure, with the general increase of ICE raids, also this type of arrests must have grown in number.