Activists upset that ICE agents are arresting illegal immigrants outside of courthouses


Everyone is on the lookout for new trends ever since President Trump came to town. This is particularly true of those who are opposed to enforcing the nation’s immigration laws and prefer the term “undocumented immigrant” to illegal alien. It’s precisely that group which seems to be the most upset over a new pattern they are noticing in the world of law enforcement. It seems that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have been “lurking” around courthouses and arresting suspected illegal immigrants when they show up there with their attorneys. (Los Angeles Times)

[I]n the past few weeks, attorneys and prosecutors in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado have all reported teams of ICE agents — some in uniform, some not — sweeping into courtrooms or lurking outside court complexes, waiting to arrest immigrants who are in the country illegally.

ICE officials have defended the tactic, saying they make arrests in courthouses only when all other options have been exhausted. But activists, attorneys and prosecutors fear ICE’s increased presence in courthouses could deter other immigrants without legal status from appearing in court to testify as witnesses or answer warrants, which ultimately could endanger prosecutions.

Pardon me if I immediately respond by playing a slow, mournful tune on the world’s smallest violin after hearing that. Despite whatever previous practices were in place, those are simply agency guidelines. There is absolutely nothing illegal about having an ICE agent show up at a courthouse where they know or suspect that an illegal alien will be and take them into custody if no better opportunity presents itself. Particularly in the case of “clients” who are at the courthouse because they are facing charges, the agents probably wouldn’t have to be hanging around there if local law enforcement was actually doing their job and cooperating with them. That’s the point being made by Virginia Kice, an ICE agency spokeswoman.

“In years past, most of these individuals would have been turned over to ICE by local authorities upon their release from jail based on ICE detainers,” Kice said “Now that many law enforcement agencies no longer honor ICE detainers, these individuals, who often have significant criminal histories, are released onto the street, presenting a potential public safety threat.”

What she’s talking about is pretty clear, even if she’s not coming right out and saying so. It should come as no surprise that much of this “lurking” activity is being reported in California. Refresh my memory here and remind me what else we know about California. Oh, that’s right. It’s chock-full of sanctuary cities and at this point has pretty much taken on the role of being a sanctuary state. That means that local law enforcement is not cooperating with immigration officials, leaving them to find their own best way to apprehend suspects.

Are they really expecting to elicit a lot of sympathy with this complaint? Immigration officials have a job to do and if they aren’t going to be getting the normal cooperation then they’ll have to find their own path to success. Catching up with illegal aliens at the courthouse sounds like a pretty good plan to me if they have no known address of record or place of employment. In fact, it’s probably one of the safest places to make a collar.