Judge: ICE agents ‘stalk’ il­le­gals at court­houses

Ses­sions, Kelly re­buke ju­rist for loaded term

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY STEPHEN DINAN

Cal­i­for­nia’s chief jus­tice ac­cused fed­eral im­mi­gra­tion agents of “stalk­ing” il­le­gal im­mi­grants at the state’s court­houses, draw­ing a fierce re­buke from At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions and Home­land Se­cu­rity Sec­re­tary John F. Kelly, who said a top judge should know bet­ter than to throw around such a loaded term.

The two Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said it was “par­tic­u­larly trou­bling” for Chief Jus­tice Tani G. Can­til-Sakauye to botch the law so badly in us­ing the term “stalk­ing” to im­ply il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, when in fact the agents were car­ry­ing out their sworn du­ties.

“As you are aware, 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,” Mr. Ses­sions and Mr. Kelly chided, adding that agents’ pow­ers to ar­rest il­le­gal im­mi­grants in pub­lic has long been legally es­tab­lished.

The chief jus­tice had fired off a let­ter ac­cus­ing the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of ter­ror­iz­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants by having the agents track down po­ten­tial de­por­tees at the state’s court­houses.

Mr. Ses­sions and Mr. Kelly said the agents were do­ing noth­ing il­le­gal, and in fact said it’s safer for U.S. Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment (ICE) agents to track down tar­gets at court­houses be­cause the il­le­gal im­mi­grants were likely al­ready screened for weapons when they en­tered the build­ing.

The two of­fi­cials said the chief jus­tice should be com­plain­ing about Cal­i­for­nia’s sanctuary poli­cies rather than balk­ing at fed­eral agents who are at­tempt­ing to en­force ex­ist­ing fed­eral laws.

Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion — have long said that sanctuary cities make agents’ jobs less safe by shield­ing il­le­gal im­mi­grants held in pris­ons and jails, and re­leas­ing them back into the com­mu­nity rather than turn­ing them over to fed­eral agents for de­por­ta­tion.

“As a re­sult, ICE of­fi­cers and agents are re­quired to lo­cate and ar­rest these aliens in pub­lic places rather than in se­cure jail fa­cil­i­ties where the risk of in­jury to the pub­lic, the alien and the of­fi­cer is sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased be­cause the alien can more read­ily ac­cess a weapon, re­sist ar­rest or flee,” Mr. Ses­sions and Mr. Kelly said.

In their March 29 let­ter, Mr. Ses­sions and Mr. Kelly ruled out im­mi­gra­tion “sweeps,” say­ing that ICE doesn’t pur­sue “in­dis­crim­i­nate” ar­rests.

Agents’ ar­rest pow­ers are “pred­i­cated on in­ves­ti­ga­tion and tar­get­ing of spe­cific per­sons who have been iden­ti­fied by ICE and other law en­force­ment agen­cies as sub­ject to ar­rest for vi­o­la­tions of fed­eral law,” the two of­fi­cials said in their stern re­buke.


Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Tani Can­tilSakauye said fed­eral of­fi­cials are “stalk­ing” il­le­gal im­mi­grants at the state’s court­houses.

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