ICE Agents Arrest People at Sonoma Courthouse in Defiance of Sanctuary Laws

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 21, 2020US News
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ICE Agents Arrest People at Sonoma Courthouse in Defiance of Sanctuary Laws
Customs and Border Protection agents checking on pedestrians at the Mexico-U.S. border on Nov. 19, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers made two arrests at a Sonoma county courthouse on Thursday, defying California sanctuary laws that forbid making arrests in such places without a warrant.

The action comes as an apparent result of the Department of Homeland Security’s recent announcement that it would back up ICE agents in its efforts to remove illegal immigrants from sanctuary cities by adding Border Patrol Tactical Units.

“ICE is utilizing CBP [Customs and Border Protection] to supplement enforcement activity in response to the resource challenges stemming from sanctuary city policies,” Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence recently told Newsweek.

ICE said 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,” the Associated Press reported.

The recent arrests were met with protest. “It’s now going to put total fear in the community,” Sonoma County Public Defender Kathleen 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.”

“If the immigrant community feels less safe and afraid, they are less willing to communicate and witnesses [are] less likely to come forward,” Democratic California Rep. Mike Thompson said. “That puts all of us at risk.”

Acting ICE Director Matthew AlbenceAlbence also told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that in Orange County, California, the recidivism rate is more than 20 percent for illegal immigrant criminals that he’s had to release as a result of California’s sanctuary policies.

“It’s a clear public safety threat to turn people out back to the street to re-offend and most of the time, they go back to these very same communities and commit these crimes,” Albence said.

“All we’re asking them for is information. Share that information so that we can go out and enforce the federal laws that we are sworn to uphold,” Albence added.

SWAT Teams Necessary to Remove Illegal Immigrants From Sanctuary Cities: DHS Secretary

The SWAT teams that will be sent into so-called sanctuary cities are necessary because the jurisdictions are giving federal officers no assistance, Department of Homeland acting Secretary Chad Wolf said on Tuesday.

“What we found in these sanctuary jurisdictions is that local law enforcement does not work with the department,” Wolf said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“So what used to take one or two officers going into a jail setting and picking up an individual that’s on a final order of removal, we now have to go into communities with many, many officers.”

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a federal immigration enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), helped Customs and Border Protection (CBP), another agency in DHS, during the crisis at the border last year, Wolf said. Now CBP is returning the favor.

NTD Photo
Customs and Border Protection agents patrol the Colorado River at the intersection of California, Arizona, and Mexico, on May 25, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“Their SWAT job is not their only job,” Wolf said during an appearance on “Full Court Press” over the weekend. “These are Border Patrol agents, CBP agents that are specially trained to do additional duties above and beyond what they do every day.”

The teams that will be sent into sanctuary cities are officially known as Border Patrol Tactical Units or BORTACs, for short.

Epoch Times reporters Zachary Stieber and Janita Kan contributed to this report.

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