Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly fired back at California’s chief justice for criticizing the use of courthouses to arrest undocumented immigrants. They said the practice was necessary because the state was so uncooperative on immigration enforcement matters, the Washington Post reports. Responding to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Sessions and Kelly wrote that the characterization of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers “stalking” undocumented immigrants at courthouses was “particularly troubling,” and that officers were within their rights to arrest undocumented immigrants in public places.
They blamed state and local officials for enacting “statutes and ordinances designed to specifically prohibit or hinder ICE from enforcing immigration law” and “denying requests by ICE officers and agents to enter prisons and jails to make arrests.” Such policies, they wrote, made it necessary for officers to arrest undocumented immigrants at courthouses. “We would encourage you to express your concerns to the Governor of California and local officials who have enacted policies that occasionally necessitate ICE officers and agents to make arrests at courthouses and other public places,” the men wrote. In response, Cantil-Sakauye said “making arrests at courthouses, in my view, undermines public safety because victims and witnesses will fear coming to courthouses to help enforce the law.”