Actions have consequences.
A handful of jurisdictions have decided to declare war upon the rule of law and refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. In order to remove criminal illegals, an action that should occur at jails and detention facilities, ICE has begun serving warrants at courthouses. This has not gone over well with a judiciary that in many places is overtly hostile to immigration enforcement. In late January, for instance, an Oregon judge allowed an illegal to use her private courtroom entrance to leave after ICE agents were seen in the courthouse.
Rather than address the root cause, lawless acts by various municipalities, California’s Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly demanding that they create law-free zones in California courthouses:
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.
This is patently insane. It is the kind of Alice-in-Wonderland reasoning that results in someone saying, “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” The argument made by this would-be judicial overlord is that in order to uphold the rule of law we must ignore the rule of law. She ignores the fact that but for the conscious act of defying the law on the part of many California jurisdictions, there would be no need for ICE to stake out courthouses.
Yesterday, John Kelly used the occasion of his trip to San Diego to answer Cantil-Sakauye’s silly letter:
Against a dusty backdrop, the sound of heavy truck traffic riding a hot breeze from a nearby Mexican highway, Department of Homeland Security chief John Kelly said Friday that the department would continue its controversial practice of arresting undocumented immigrants in places like courthouses or places where those people might go to seek services, report crimes, or even file paperwork to postpone deportation.
“The best place for us to pick up these illegal criminals is in jails and prisons. It is inconceivable to me that an elected official at any level would prefer these types of men and women to be released into the community,” Kelly said.
Sheriff’s’ departments and police departments “want to cooperate with us and turn these people over that are in the jails,” Kelly said, meaning immigrants without proper documentation who had been apprehended by police on other charges. “If they don’t do that” — meaning if local law enforcement does not hand those people over to ICE — “we have to go into neighborhoods. We have to go into courthouses. We have to go where we can find them and apprehend them.”
Kelly’s response is the correct one. Kelly, unlike most California elected officials and at least some of its judiciary, takes seriously his oath to uphold the law. If California and other areas will not cooperate in ridding the country of illegals who commit crimes, that doesn’t prevent the job from being done.