Judge Puts Courthouses in Sanctuary Zone



Amid rising demands to defund and disband police, another judge barred U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from doing its job at courthouses.

In the past year or so, FAIR has headlined multiple assaults against ICE operations at courthouses:

So-called lockout rules in several states began prohibiting civil arrests at local courthouses last year. This week, a federal court in New York jumped on the bandwagon.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, appointed by President Bill Clinton, struck down a 2017 federal directive authorizing ICE agents to increase civil immigration arrests in and around courthouses. Rakoff declared the policy illegal, and said ICE had failed to explain why its actions were necessary.

Apparently his honor hasn’t been paying attention. ICE says it’s had to turn to courthouse arrests because hundreds of sanctuary jurisdictions, including New York, refuse to cooperate on releasing people to ICE from their prisons and jails.

As FAIR noted during previous courthouse skirmishes, ICE goes to greater lengths than any other law enforcement agency to be sensitive in how it carries out its duties. The agency refrains from arresting illegal aliens near schools, houses of worship and hospitals in deference to those institutions and what they stand for.

Unimpressed, and with exquisite irony, progressive Judge Rakoff invoked “the ancient privilege” of English common law against civil arrests at courthouses – while turning a blind eye to fictive postmodern sanctuary policies that enable criminal aliens to go free.

Judge Rakoff can put on his powdered wig and glibly recite all the 500-year-old common law he wants. Enforcing the law at courthouses is basic common sense.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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