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  • Article: Chief Justice of California Objects to Immigration Enforcement Tactics at California Courthouses By Kevin R. Johnson

    Chief Justice of California Objects to Immigration Enforcement Tactics at California Courthouses

    by


    The Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye has expressed concerns with federal immigration tactics at the California courthouses in the following letter:

    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.

    Most Americans have more daily contact with their state and local governments than with the federal government, and I am concerned about the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be.

    Each layer of government – federal, state, and local – provides a portion of the fabric of our society that preserves law and order and protects the rights and freedoms*of the people. The separation of powers and checks and balances at the various levels and branches of government ensure the harmonious existence of the rule of law.

    The federal and state governments share power in countless ways, and*our roles and responsibilities are balanced for the public good. As officers of the court, we judges uphold the constitutions of both the United States and California, and the executive branch does the same by ensuring that our laws are fairly and safely enforced. But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary’s ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement*in*California's courthouses.

    —Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

    This post originally appeared on Law Professor Blogs © 2014-2017 by Law Professor Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


    About The Author

    Kevin Johnson Kevin Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.Dean Johnson has published extensively on immigration law and civil rights. Published in 1999, his book How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man's Search for Identity was nominated for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Dean Johnson’s latest book, Immigration Law and the US-Mexico Border (2011), received the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards – Best Reference Book. Dean Johnson blogs at ImmigrationProf, and is a regular contributor on immigration on SCOTUSblog. A regular participant in national and international conferences, Dean Johnson has also held leadership positions in the Association of American Law Schools and is the recipient of an array of honors and awards. He is quoted regularly by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and other national and international news outlets.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

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