The South Asian Bar Association of Northern California applauds California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye's courageous stand against the recent raids by Federal immigration authorities at or near courthouses.
Under the Trump administration,
federal agents have reportedly started
searching for immigrants who are allegedly in the country illegally at courthouses in California and at least
four other states. As Justice Cantil-Sakauye stated in her March 16, 2017 letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly
, these raids deter immigrants from coming to courts, "the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives." The raids
drive immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, deeper into the shadows by dissuading them from accessing
essential court services: to c
ontest an eviction, seek a restraining order, testify against a perpetrator of a crime,
attend a custody hearing, pay a traffic citation, support a family member who is accused of a crime,
or obtain a marriage license.
Courthouses are places where victims and witnesses, the accused and their families, and all citizens must feel safe to seek justice and due process of law. Courthouses are essential to civic life and should be treated as "sensitive locations" like schools, churches, and hospitals, where the immigration authorities historically do not make arrests. We stand in solidarity with Justice Cantil-Sakauye.