As we’ve seen for the past three years, vast swaths of the nation’s judiciary are in opposition to the rule of law. In the federal courts, we are seeing judges interject themselves into mundane and banal executive branch actions simply to obstruct the ability of the Trump administration to govern because those judges oppose the policy decisions by the administration. These decisions are routinely overturned on appeal but the net effect is depriving the administration of months or years of potential actions. At the state level, we’re seeing state judges in lockstep with progressive state governments in trying to hamstring the ability of federal agencies to perform their duties. The chief target is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which has the responsibility for enforcing immigration laws within the interior of the United States.
ICE has discovered…despite propaganda asserting that illegals are more law-abiding than any other demographic group…that the best place to round up illegals is at courthouses. Routinely, agents scan the docket, identify illegals, and have agents in the courtroom ready to take them into custody when their legal affairs are concluded. This has led the chief justice of California’s Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, to write a letter to the Attorney General and the head of DHS demanding that courtrooms be considered some kind of sacred space for illegals. And it isn’t just in California.
Last year, a Massachusetts judge, Shelley Richmond Joseph, connived with one of her staff, a guy named Wesley MacGregor, to slip an illegal out of the courthouse via the judge’s private entrance because she knew that ICE agents were waiting to pick up the defendant once his case was adjudicated. At that point, the Department of Justice decided it was tired of playing silly games, so she was indicted on felony charges and is currently awaiting trial.
Now the war has escalated.
Oregon’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters issued an order last week that effectively bars ICE from arresting illegals in courthouses.
The new rule requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to have a signed judicial warrant if they plan to enter a courthouse to make an arrest. In the past, ICE agents have used administrative warrants that are signed by other ICE officers, rather than a neutral third party, like a judge.
The new rule follows a petition that was sent to the court by immigrants’ rights groups in December 2018. They have argued, among other things, that immigration arrests around and near courthouses puts a chilling effect on those seeking access to the justice system.
“Adopting this rule protects the integrity of the state judicial process and will allow state courts to fully hold accountable people accused of a crime,” Walters said in a release. “Arrests in courthouses have interfered with judicial proceedings and removed criminal defendants before they have been sentenced or completed their sentences. We are adopting this rule to maintain the integrity of our courts and provide access to justice — not to advance or oppose any political or policy agenda.”
The rule also bans civil immigration arrests in courthouses, their parking lots, sidewalks and entryways, unless a judge has signed an arrest warrant.
That put Oregon in the august company of New York and New Jersey in prioritizing the ability of illegals to avoid deportation over the rule of law and the safety of Americans.
This time, the Justice Department issued a statement that essentially said, “bring it.”
ICE ERO officers have been provided broad at-large arrest authority by Congress and may lawfully arrest removable aliens in courthouses, which is often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of custody in the setting of a state or county prison or jail and put political rhetoric before public safety.
It is ironic that elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country.
Despite attempts to prevent ICE officers from doing their jobs, ICE will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law, and consider carefully whether to refer those who obstruct our lawful enforcement efforts for criminal prosecution.
What happens next? If ICE adheres to their statement, and aren’t just blowing smoke, the order is worthless. A state court judge, supreme or otherwise, simply cannot enjoin federal agents from enforcing federal law. The big question is whether Department of Justice is serious or just talking smack.