Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said in a letter Friday that the California Supreme Court justice who accused federal immigration officers of stalking should know better.
California’s state Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye sent a letter to Kelly and Sessions two weeks ago bemoaning the practice of ICE officers arresting illegal immigrants at courthouses.
“Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote. “They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice.”
Kelly and Sessions responded that in her role as a state supreme court justice she should be “aware” that “stalking has a specific legal meaning in American law, which describes criminal activity involving repetitive following or harassment of the victim with the intent to produce fear of harm.”
The two cabinet secretaries went on to say that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers have the right to make arrests in public places, and that they are authorized to arrest immigrants “where probable cause exists to believe that such aliens are in violation of immigration laws.”
They added that these courthouse arrests are necessary due to sanctuary policies implemented by both the state of California and some of its largest jurisdictions. These policies “specifically prohibit or hinder ICE from enforcing immigration law by prohibiting communication with ICE, and denying requests by ICE officers and agents to enter prisons and jails to make arrests.”
“Such policies threaten public safety, rather than enhance it,” Kelly and Sessions wrote. They added that as a result ICE officers have to make arrests in public places which makes arrests more dangerous and that since courthouse visitors are screened by security upon entry “the safety risks for the arresting officers and persons being arrested are substantially decreased.”
Sessions and Kelly then wrote that they encourage Cantil-Sakauye to express to tell California political leaders to reverse sanctuary policies so that arrests at courthouses aren’t a necessity.