ICE makes surprise arrest in Sacramento courtroom to get around sanctuary protections

In one California sanctuary city, ICE agents are committed to getting their jobs done.

Even if they have to make a surprise arrest of illegal immigrants in the middle of a courtroom.

(Image: screengrab The Sacramento Bee)

For what may be a first in the state of California, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents entered a Sacramento Superior Court last week and arrested an illegal immigrant. Yovanny Ontiveros-Cebreros, who was being arraigned, The Sacramento Bee reported.

Charles Pacheco, the man’s lawyer, slammed the move and warned it could have a chilling effect across the state, which last year declared “sanctuary state” status for all of California.

“This will turn the judicial system on its head,” Pacheci said, blasting Superior Court Judge Lawrence Brown for not stopping the arrest after spending time in his judicial chambers.

“The judge was weak — he had no control of his courtroom, and allowed the federal government to come into his court. He (Brown) just wanted to neutralize the situation, so he could figure out what was going on, and then he felt that it was justified that the (ICE) guy said there was a warrant for illegal re-entry,” Pacheco told the Bee, arguing that he never saw the warrant against his client.

“Remanding on an outstanding arrest warrant issued by another jurisdiction is the province of the Sheriff’s department,” Brown responded in a statement to The Sacramento Bee.

“It happens on a regular basis, particularly in large felony arraignments courts,” he added. “The court was mindful of the concerns raised by counsel about a chilling effect on undocumented persons coming to court – one articulated far more thoughtfully by the Chief Justice of California – but such concerns could not impede enforcing a lawfully-issued warrant at the moment.”

ICE agents “made a criminal arrest at the Sacramento Superior Courthouse on Wednesday pursuant to a criminal arrest warrant issue by a federal magistrate judge,” a spokesman for ICE told the Bee. “As this is an ongoing federal criminal case, no additional information is available at this time.”

Last year, state Supreme Court chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye demanded ICE agents stop looking for illegal immigrants on California courtrooms.

“Enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair,” she wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, according to the Bee.

But considering the recent tragedies as innocent Americans are murdered and attacked by those in the country illegally who should rightly have been deported, ICE agents seemed to have a great deal of support on line for doing their jobs.


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Frieda Powers


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