SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — U.S. immigration agents arrested two people at a Northern California courthouse, including a man detained in a hallway on his way to a hearing, flouting a new state law requiring a judicial warrant to make immigration arrests inside such facilities.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents made the arrests Tuesday at Sonoma County Superior Court, prompting an outcry from criminal justice and court officials who said the action undermines local authority and deters immigrants who are in the country illegally from participating in the U.S. justice system.

ICE said California’s law doesn’t supersede federal law and “will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly-enacted laws passed by Congress that provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”

“Our officers will not have their hands tied by sanctuary rules when enforcing immigration laws to remove criminal aliens from our communities,” David Jennings, ICE’s field office director in San Francisco, said in the statement.

California is one of several states that have passed laws to push back on a Trump administration policy introduced two years ago to make immigration arrests inside courthouses. Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to prohibit immigration arrests at courthouses without a warrant issued by a judge.

The arrests in Sonoma County came days after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced the agency will participate in ICE’s escalating immigration enforcement across the country in jurisdictions with sanctuary policies such as California and San Francisco.

Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin condemned the arrests for undermining public safety. Sonoma County counsel Bruce Goldstein called ICE’s actions “lawless” because the agents had no warrants.

“It’s now going to put total fear in the community,” Pozzi said in an interview with the Press Democrat. “People aren’t going to come to court. Victims will refuse to show up. Witnesses will refuse to show up … cases will have to get dismissed.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said both men had been arrested by immigration officers numerous times from 2004 to 2010 and returned to Mexico in response several times.

In one of the arrests, a Sonoma County public defender and an investigator confronted an ICE agent leading a 37-year-old man to an unmarked law enforcement vehicle, demanding information about the affiliation of the agent, who wore no uniform, and the name of the man being taken away, Pozzi said. The man was detained in a second-floor hallway of the courthouse before he could attend his court hearing, she said.

His lawyer, private defense attorney Martin Woods, said his client was a carpenter who was expecting to resolve his criminal case Tuesday. The man had been arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence and misdemeanor drunken driving and had since been trying to take responsibility for the incident, Woods said.

In another case, witnesses said a federal agent in plainclothes confronted a man in the parking lot, at first putting out his hand as if offering a handshake then grabbing the man’s elbow before unzipping his own jacket to reveal a federal law enforcement badge, Pozzi said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press.

Comments (21)
  1. Paul says:

    It seems like California has two ways it can go with this:

    A) We can acknowledge that Federal law supersedes State law and that we are a nation of laws.

    B) We can declare all laws subjective to the person or entity they are being applied to which means California can ignore Federal law and carry on with it’s ‘sanctuary’ nonsense and I can ignore State law and buy, import and carry whatever firearms I want to.

    If the law is subjective California has abdicated it’s power to create or enforce laws within the State, unless the California government wants to try to declare themselves a monarchy with separate laws for the ruling class and the subjects.

    1. Veto Chervase says:

      The State Law is unconstitutional so the officers have the right to arrest. Simple as that.

  2. Bill Beahan says:

    F Kookifornia illegal laws

  3. June Porter says:

    How can we respect law and order when federal laws are being ignored in California? There’s a trickle down effect in this state, crime is flourishing; laptops stolen from owners’ hands, car windows shattered daily everywhere, merchandise stolen by the armloads from department stores, teens being murdered in high school parking lots and public parks, public drug use and defecation, litter lines every highway. California is doomed under this current leadership.

  4. Clint Bryant says:

    Hahahahahaha. No bias in that report.

  5. CT says:

    Only in California is arresting a criminal considered a threat to public safety.

  6. CT says:

    Remember… “no one is above the law” as they love to shout in California. Except the California government and illegal aliens.

  7. Frank N Rawson says:

    The public defender should have been arrested and charged with impeding an officer enforcing the law

  8. James says:

    Get’em boys, arrest them and deport all dem sonsabit&&es, come legal or don’t come at tall. 🙂

  9. good ,,they need to arrest the public officials for barbering as fugitives

  10. John Toy says:

    Bravo for ICE and shame on California politicians and officials for flouting legitimate immigration laws. If they don’t like being part of this country they should secede from the United States. They are an embarrassment.

  11. Angela Coker says:

    Good arrest all of them , and then arrest the government people to

  12. No Socialism says:

    Arrest the Mayors and other leaders that are NOT enforcing the law.

  13. Nancy says:

    Get rid of Gruesome Newsom and EVERY MAYOR around the State who defies to work w/ICE and the LAW. if you are illegally here, YOU ARE AN ILLEGAL! And we’re not going to take it anymore!

  14. Marco says:

    Thank you ICE for making our communities safer. California is an embarrassment.

  15. Medbob says:

    You messed up your headline.
    “California Rejects Federal Law. ICE Agents Enforce Federal Law.”

    Fixed it.

  16. Medbob says:

    Oh My Gosh! And then I listened to the story! The officials complain about people not showing up? The problem is that THEY ARE NOT ENFORCING THE LAW!
    Then they complain about their credibility being trashed? They have no credibility if they claim to stand for law and order and hen do not enforce the law.

    It does not matter if you believe in Unicorns, the attainability of a Utopian society, or even the rights of immigrants! An Alien in the country illegally is an Illegal Alien and in all logic and law is therefore a criminal! Federal Officers arrest Criminals, and you should arrest them as well.

    The utter illogic and lack of any intellectual depth in some corners of the country is completely hilarious to those of us with common sense and a belief in the Rule of Law. Do you really try to be a laughingstock?

  17. Bartemeus Simpson Linguini says:

    Sounds like good police work…

  18. Miles Weaver says:

    Cases may have to be dismissed but those are all cases that should not have existed in the first place if the victim or the perpetrator were here illegally.

  19. Orrin says:

    #321. The death of Carlos Ariza in 2020 may have been prevented.

    They won’t secure our borders until they fear they won’t be re-elected. HELP secure our borders and call your US House representative & US Senators at 202-224-3121. A comment won’t change a thing but your call can.

    The alleged killer, Javier Ramirez-Jimenez, was charged with reckless manslaughter after authorities say he fatally stabbed 67-year-old Carlos Ariza.

    If released, Ramirez-Jimenez will go into custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

  20. ‘illegal alien’ in search returns 121 Censored YouTube videos: is an Unbiased Community Catalog of 36K+ Limited State YouTube videos, including deleted content: “we show what they hide”

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