Last year, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Secretary of Department of Homeland Security John Kelly to urge them to cease the practice of arresting undocumented immigrants in courthouses. Now, a non-profit organization is petitioning California’s Judicial Council to create a rule that would prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from making arrests in California courthouses.
Proposed Ban on Making Non-Criminal Arrests in Courthouses
Legal Aid at Work’s proposed rule of court would ban ICE agents from making arrests of undocumented immigrants who are inside of a courthouse or are traveling to court to conduct court-related matters. The goal of the court rule is to protect people such as witnesses and victims, who may not go to court out of fear of being detained by ICE.
The group, which helps provide attorney services to undocumented immigrants, says its proposed rule cites hundreds of years of state and federal law that allows judges to protect anyone from being arrested when going to court.
According to Legal Aid at Work, the petition has the support of various lawyers, retired judges, civil rights activists and law professors.
Do Undocumented Immigrants Have Rights?
A fair amount of legal precedent indicates that the Constitution applies to all persons in the United States, regardless of their citizenship. For example, it is well-settled that an undocumented immigrant who is arrested for a crime is entitled to protections against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, and the right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment. However, many of these protections do not apply when it comes to violations of immigration law.
Efforts to make state court a safe place for undocumented immigrants are already underway in Sacramento. Senate Bill 54, which is California’s “sanctuary state” law, was approved by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2017. The law prohibits state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect or arrest persons for immigration enforcement purposes.
The rule of court proposed by Legal Aid at Work goes one step further, preventing ICE agents from making deportation arrests at courthouses, or while a person is traveling to court.
Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
While California lawmakers are taking encouraging strides toward making courts a safe haven, any new law will not take effect until next year at the earliest. In the meantime, ICE agents could be waiting for you if you go to court. That is why it is important to speak with an experienced attorney before you make any court appearances.
At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending clients facing criminal charges and their families. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
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