Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are defending the arrests of undocumented immigrants at courthouses in a letter to California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
The two said arresting people near courthouses is required because of the protections sanctuary cities have set up for immigrants in the country illegally.
“Some jurisdictions, including the State of California and many of its largest counties and cities, have enacted statutes and ordinances designed to specifically prohibit or hinder ICE from enforcing immigration law,” the letter from the two Trump adminisration officials says.
“Agents are required to locate and arrest these aliens in public places, rather than in secure jail facilities.”
The letter is a response to Cantil-Saskauye, who earlier this month criticized federal officials for “stalking” courthouses to make arrests.
The Trump administration has sought to cut off federal funds to sanctuary cities, sparking an outcry. Immigration advocates and many local governments argue enforcement under President Trump's executive orders has been heavy-handed and indiscriminate.
The administration and its supporters claim that enforcement is focused on criminal aliens who represent a threat to society.
“To be clear, the arrest of individuals by [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] officers is predicated on investigation and targeting of specific persons who have been identified by ICE and other law enforcement agencies as subjects to arrest for violations of federal law,” the letter from Kelly and Sessions reads.
Opponents of the administration’s actions argue the administration's expansion of who qualifies as a criminal alien has led to negative consequences, such as people not reporting other crimes for fear of being deported.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Tuesday that reports of sexual assault plummeted by 25 percent among Latinos compared to last year.
“Imagine, a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother … not reporting a sexual assault, because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” Beck told the LA Times.
The term “sanctuary cities,” which Sessions and Kelly avoided in their letter, has become a source of controversy in and of itself.
Garcetti in a January meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors challenged opponents of his policies to define it.
Local law enforcement can notify ICE if it is holding a foreign criminals, either after they have completed their sentences or during pre-trial detention.
ICE normally requests “detainers” to accompany these notifications — essentially, that local jails hold deportable foreigners until federal authorities can pick them up.
But local authorities say holding detainees beyond the constitutionally mandated period puts them at risk of violating their constitutional oaths.
Many local governments have argued detainers force them to violate the fourth amendment rights of detained foreign nationals. In some cases, they have argued that asking for immigration papers could constitute a violation of the fifth amendment right against self incrimination.
Despite the legal risks to local governments executing detainers, Sessions and Kelly said in their letter that arrests in jail facilities are safer, because in public-space arrests “the alien can more readily access a weapon, resist arrest, or flee.”