Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers take down illegal on courthouse steps
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) gave a giant middle finger to California’s “sanctuary” policy this week when officers arrested a criminal illegal alien, defying the state’s law.
Federal agents defied “sanctuary” law on Thursday by arresting an illegal immigrant on San Francisco’s courthouse steps.
The suspect was about to enter the city’s Hall of Justice for a hearing.
In a statement Friday, ICE said it had requested local authorities to turn over the man eight times but had its “detainer” requests ignored in every instance, the agency’s spokesman Jonathan Moor told KTVU.
The man was not identified but ICE confirmed he had three felony convictions for second-degree burglary from 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The illegal has reportedly been arrested by local law enforcement seven times in the past five years, Moor revealed.
“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, director of ICE’s San Francisco field office, told the Washington Times.
California enacted a law aimed at ICE last year which makes courthouse arrests without a judicial warrant illegal, according to The Pluralist.
When ICE cannot obtain a judicial warrant, it makes arrests on administrative warrants instead.
San Francisco officials react
The move set off a furious reaction from the local district attorney and public defender’s office.
“California law explicitly forbids a civil enforcement agency, including ICE, from making a civil arrest without a warrant outside a courthouse,” San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju said.
“San Francisco will not allow such egregious abuse of power to go unchecked.
“We will provide immediate and zealous representation to anyone subject to such illegal activity.”
The arrest was the second of its kind in a little more than two weeks.
On Feb. 18, ICE arrested three people, two inside and one outside, at the Sonoma County Courthouse in Santa Rosa.
Jennings, for his part, criticized the policies that prohibit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal officials, pointing to the individual arrested in San Francisco.
“For many years, the city and county of San Francisco has refused to cooperate with ICE, much to their own detriment,” he said.
“Criminals like this individual are released to offend again and again.
“A simple phone call to ICE to arrange the secure transfer of such individuals would serve the hard-working residents of the city far more than a misguided sanctuary policy, that, as proven here and numerous times in the past, goes to great lengths to protect criminals under the guise of protecting the citizenry.”
Trump vs. “Sanctuary” cities
The arrests are the latest flashpoint between the Trump administration and illegal-immigrant friendly jurisdictions.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump said he would withhold money from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.
That came after a U.S. court ruled that his administration could block federal law enforcement funds to states and cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan granted the motion on Feb. 26, but three other federal appeals courts have agreed to uphold an injunction against the withholding of such funds, setting up a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The appeals court decision reversed a lower court ruling and set up a possible appeal to the Supreme Court, which often resolves legal disputes that divide lower courts.
In the ruling, Judge Reena Raggi said the case “implicates several of the most divisive issues confronting our country” including immigration policy and law enforcement, illegal immigrants and the ability of state and local governments to adopt policies the federal government dislikes.
In 2017, Trump’s administration conditioned receipt of funds known as Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants on state and local government’s willingness to provide federal immigration authorities with access to their jails as well as advance notice of immigrants’ release from custody.
Trump has intensified his fight against Democratic-led “sanctuary” jurisdictions whose laws or policies make it harder for ICE officials to track down and arrest immigrants they consider deportable.