“Just because they’re a victim in a certain case does not mean there’s not something in their background that could cause them to be a removable alien.”
The Department of Homeland Security has its eyes on arresting undocumented immigrants at courthouses, Spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security David Lapan recently revealed. Despite opposition pressure, the DHS says courthouses are the safest place to make arrests because immigrants will have already gone through security checks to ensure they are unarmed. Lapan, as the Washington Post points out, added, “Just because they’re a witness doesn’t mean they might not pose a security threat for other reasons.”
Critics fear that targeting victims and witnesses could prevent authorities from protecting public safety.
Jim Greenhill / Tomkie sFastyne / FLICKR
California Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye expressed his concerns in a recent letter submitted to Homeland Security Chief John Kelly. The Justice reminded Kelly that courthouses play a vital role in “protecting public safety” and that they are not “bait” for ICE agents to make arrests. The undocumented, as the Washington Post reports, could fear submitting crucial evidence or refuse to report criminal activities, making it harder for local authorities to do their job.
Countering these arguments, Spokesman Lapan said, “I can’t give a blanket statement that says every witness and victim is somehow untouchable […] The categories that we’ve talked about that make them subject to arrest or potential removal still apply to somebody who might him or herself be a victim.”