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California Chief Justice Says Immigrant Arrests At Courthouses 'Making Us Unsafe'

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File

Rich Pedroncelli / AP / File

The continued arrest of immigrants outside California courthouses is “perfectly legal” but is “making us unsafe,” the state’s top judge told Capital Public Radio on Wednesday.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye made those comments one day after the nation’s top immigration enforcement official told a forum in Sacramento that the courthouse arrests would continue.

“I am not saying do not enforce immigration laws,” Cantil-Sakauye said. “I’m asking them (federal immigration authorities) to consider the impact of enforcing those in courthouses where people flee in fear that ICE is there and cases fall apart for people who are there to protect themselves.”

In January, the Trump Administration broadened the circumstances where federal authorities are allowed to arrest immigrants who have not been convicted of a crime.

“We’ll continue to arrest in the courthouse,” U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Chief Thomas Homan said on Tuesday at the Sacramento forum, where he and Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones were met by a hostile crowd.

“However, we don’t go to courthouses looking for victims, we don’t go to courthouses looking for witnesses.”

Homan said the agency does not make arrests at hospitals or schools. He explained another high-profile arrest, of a father after he dropped his child off at school, as occurring six blocks away.

The ICE director said those who’ve committed violent offenses are still the agency’s first priority.

“The laws are already on the books,” Homan said. “What he (Trump) said is now you’re going to enforce the laws already on the books that you haven’t been able to enforce in the past.”

Cantil-Sakauye added that the arrests undermine the public’s trust in the judicial system.

Listen to the full interview with the chief justice Thursday morning on Capital Public Radio’s Insight.

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