Chief Objects to Courthouse "Stalking" of Immigrants, 0417 CABJ, CBJ - April 2017 #02

Author:Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice.
 
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Chief Objects to Courthouse "Stalking" of Immigrants

No. 2017 #02

California Bar Journal

April, 2017

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice.

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye expressed concern last month that immigration enforcement at California courthouses may be scaring off court users and asked that federal official treat courts as a "sensitive location" such as a church or school.

The California Judicial Council also created a directory for information and resources on immigration issues. The directory is designed to help immigrants access the legal system.

"I"m not saying do not enforce immigration or federal law. I am saying, consider us on the "sensitive areas" list like a school, Wee a hospital, like a church - where enforcement of immigration is the exception, not the norm," she said.

Here is the full text of Cantil-Sakauye's March 16 letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly: As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.

Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country's immigration laws.

Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives. Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law. As finders of fact, trial courts strive to mitigate fear to ensure fairness and protect legal rights. Our work is critical for ensuring public safety and the efficient administration of justice.

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