In a move so un-American that it elicits memories of the Japanese detainment camps of the 1940s, ICE has been accused by the Chief Justice of California’s Supreme Court of “stalking” local courthouses in search of undocumented immigrants to deport.
The state Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Secretary John Kelly, demanding that they put an immediate stop to the practice of detaining Latinos outside of California courthouses.
Aside from the obvious poor optics that these raids create, ICE is effectively chipping away at any trust the citizenry has in a judicial system that is being misappropriated to advance Trump’s fascist agenda. In her letter, Cantil-Sakauye explained:
“I am concerned 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.”
Of course, ICE hasn’t been deterred by poor optics before. Just weeks earlier, they were again a source of national embarrassment when, in El Paso, Texas, they detained a transgendered domestic violence survivor, Irvin González, who was visiting a courthouse to receive a protective order against her abuser. Cue the national anthem.
As the last remaining vestige of fair democracy in our federal government, the judicial system has been under constant attack by the Trump administration. It should come as no surprise, then, that the Executive branch is now encouraging and enabling these ambushes at the foot of America’s courthouses—arguably where people should feel most safe.
When Trump promised to “Make America Safe Again,” he didn’t specify that he meant from our own government.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.