ICE agents arrested two illegal aliens in a courthouse in Northern California, defying a state law that says they needed a warrant from a judge to do so.
ICE flouted a new state law that requires the warrant before arresting an illegal on courthouse grounds. After the predictable outcry from courthouse officials and others, ICE calmly gave their rationale.
ICE said in a statement that 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.
In other words, ICE is telling critics to go climb a tree.
ICE’s actions follow the deployment of Customs and Border Patrol agents to sanctuary cities and states. The state government of California bitterly criticized that move, but find themselves unable to do anything to prevent it. The Department of Homeland Security, the agency under which ICE and CBP operate, can send its personnel anywhere they see fit to send them.
Critics of the arrests dragged out the usual excuse: illegals will now hesitate before helping the police or participating in the legal system.
Sonoma County Dist. Atty. Jill Ravitch, Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi and San Francisco Dist. Atty. 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.”
ICE said both men had been arrested by immigration officers numerous times from 2004 to 2010 and returned to Mexico several times.
The illegals don’t respect the judicial system anyway. If they did, they wouldn’t be illegal in the first place.
There is a real constitutional issue involved here. The Supremacy Clause (Article VI) makes state law that conflicts with federal law inoperative. There are no strictures ever passed by Congress on where immigration arrests can be made. And while the feds usually give way as a courtesy to states, they are under absolutely no obligation to do so in this case.
California is likely to find a friendly judge who will slap an injunction on ICE until the courts resolve the issue. But unless the United States Congress acts to restrict ICE from arresting illegals in a specific place, like a courthouse, the state is bound to lose.