SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) — City Attorney Mara Elliott and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined 11 other California prosecutors Tuesday in urging the U.S. Attorney General to exclude California courthouses from immigration arrests.
The letter urges U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to include courthouses among the sites where immigration enforcement actions are discouraged.
It supports the position of California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye who asked federal immigration agents last month to stop making arrests at courthouses, saying "stalking undocumented immigrants" at the facilities thwarts people's access to justice.
The letter - signed by six city attorneys and six district attorneys - states in part:
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. Courthouse enforcement by ICE also risks confrontations that could endanger members of the public at courthouses throughout our state.
"Courthouse arrests will deny justice to the most vulnerable members of our society - victims of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and sexual assault," Elliott said. "We are less safe when victims and witnesses are discouraged from helping our police and prosecutors put criminals behind bars."
See a full copy of the letter below.
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