LOS ANGELES – A dozen prosecutors from across California, including Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, sent a letter Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking the federal government to stop its agents from making immigration arrests at local courthouses.
The letter was sent in support of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who first raised the issue in March in a letter to the Trump administration.
The letter followed a report by the Los Angeles Times that found Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado are arresting immigrants in the country illegally at courthouses. [Read The Times article here.]
ICE officials defended the tactic, saying they make arrests in courthouses only when all other options have been exhausted, according to The Times.
Cantil-Sakauye wrote that she worried about the “impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be.”
Lacey was joined by 11 other prosecutors who signed the letter, including Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, Santa Monica City Attorney Joseph Lawrence and Burbank City Attorney Amy Albano.
“ICE courthouse arrests make all Californians less safe. These practices deter residents concerned about their immigration status from appearing in court — including as crime victims and witnesses — jeopardizing effective prosecution of criminals who may then re-offend,” the letter said.