File photo of the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach.
Prosecutors across the state, including Long Beach’s own Doug Haubert, added their names to a letter sent yesterday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking the federal government to stop its agents from making immigration arrests at local courthouses.
“We want to ensure that crime victims and others have access to justice and safeguarding that courthouses are places of safety is important for that access,” Haubert told the Post. “Police and prosecutors in Long Beach have worked hard to send the message that we will treat all people fairly, regardless of their immigration status. This letter just reinforces that policy.”
Haubert joined Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, as well as nine other prosecutors in the counties of San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sonoma, San Francisco and Alameda in signing the letter.
“No one should fear that their immigration status prevents them from seeking justice, whether as a crime victim or otherwise,” the letter read. “ICE’s practice is antithetical to a fair system of justice that must protect all of us. We urge you to reconsider your position, and include areas in and around courthouses among the sensitive sites where immigration enforcement actions are discouraged.”
The letter was sent in support of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who first raised the issue in March in a letter to the Trump administration. The letter followed a report by the Los Angeles Times that found Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado are arresting immigrants in the country illegally at courthouses.
ICE officials said they make arrests in courthouses after exhausting all other options, according to The Times.
Cantil-Sakauye wrote that she worried 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.”
Haubert said he has not heard of any incidents of ICE agents making arrests at the Long Beach courthouse, adding that prosecutors do not want to interfere with federal law or make it harder for federal agents to do their jobs.
“We hope that federal authorities listen to the valid concerns of prosecutors, and be mindful that how they enforce the law could impact the cooperation of the immigrant community and, therefore, public safety in general,” Haubert said.
City News Service contributed to this report.
Above, left: file photo of Long Beach Prosecutor Doug Haubert.