ICE agents arrested two illegal aliens in a courthouse in Northern California flouting a new state law that says they needed a warrant from a judge to do so.
“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” explained David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco.
Los Angeles Times reports U.S. immigration agents have arrested two people at a Northern California courthouse, including a man detained in a hallway on his way to a hearing, flouting a new state law requiring a judicial warrant to make immigration arrests inside such facilities.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents made the arrests Tuesday at Sonoma County Superior Court, prompting an outcry from criminal justice and court officials who said the action undermines local authority and deters immigrants who are in the country illegally from participating in the U.S. justice system.
ICE said in a statement that California’s law doesn’t supersede federal law and “will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”
“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco, said in the statement.
California is one of several states that have passed laws to push back on a Trump administration policy introduced two years ago to make immigration arrests inside courthouses. Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law prohibiting immigration arrests at courthouses without a warrant issued by a judge.
The arrests in Sonoma County came days after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced the agency will participate in ICE’s escalating immigration enforcement across the country in jurisdictions with so-called sanctuary policies.
Sonoma County Dist. Atty. Jill Ravitch, Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi and San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin condemned the arrests for undermining public safety. Sonoma County Counsel Bruce Goldstein called ICE’s actions lawless because the agents had no warrants.
“It’s now going to put total fear in the community,” Pozzi said in an interview with the Press Democrat. “People aren’t going to come to court. Victims will refuse to show up. Witnesses will refuse to show up … cases will have to get dismissed.”
ICE said both men had been arrested by immigration officers numerous times from 2004 to 2010 and returned to Mexico several times.