Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Judge Prohibits Immigration Arrests at San Diego Federal Courthouses

Just this week, U.S. District Judge, Dana Sabraw, granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security from making any immigration arrests at federal courthouses in San Diego, California.

Judge Sabraw’s decision derived from a complaint filed last month, which challenge the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of attending hearings for undocumented people, who were charged with misdemeanors, had posted bond, and were not in custody before the hearing. The Department of Homeland Security arrested these people regardless of the results of their case.

The complaint was filed by attorneys on behalf of various people who have active immigration cases. These people claimed to “have seen immigration officers waiting in court presumably and believe that he/she faces likely civil immigration arrest in court following conclusion of the criminal prosecution”.

This practice has been done since 2018. Border Patrol was making arrests in courthouses without warrants, therefore violating the constitutional rights of people arrested and creating a “chilling” effect on undocumented witnesses.

Judge Sabraw also wrote that “court should be a sanctuary- a place where parties and witnesses must be free from interference and intimidation to present their claims and defenses”. The temporary order will last for 14 days and could also be extended. Laster this month, the attorneys and the government will meet in order to attempt to resolve the issue but if no resolution is made, then the matter can be heard for a preliminary injunction which could extend the ban until a final judgment is made.

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