California Chief Justice on the Right Side of History

We applaud Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court for taking a strong position against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement practice of stalking undocumented immigrants in California courthouses.

“There is ample evidence that immigrants view such practices as a form of stalking that deters them from seeking justice for themselves or cooperating in the administration of justice for others,” wrote former Calif. Supreme Court Associate Justice Joseph Grodin in a letter to the editor.

Our courthouses must be places where all parties feel safe and free from being hunted by draconian immigration enforcement agencies. This is more important than ever as we see certain agencies like Customs and Border Protection disregard orders from federal judges.

The practice of courthouse stalking is so egregious that even prosecutors have sided with the Chief Justice against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer and District Attorney Jackie Lacey are among a dozen prosecutors requesting that the federal government stop its agents from making immigration arrests at local courthouses.

Because Mr. Sessions lacked the qualifications to be Attorney General, he was ill-prepared to understand that dragnets at courthouses impede a justice system that relies on victims and witnesses testifying and defendants appearing.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye knows that if this practice continues, we all suffer the consequences, not just those entrapped by an over-reaching enforcement action. As a Filipina American whose Japanese American in-laws were incarcerated during World War II, she understands the importance of taking a stand when faced with injustice.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is standing up for all Californians, citizens and immigrants. And we’re proud to stand with her.

Dale Minami, President
Glen S. Fukushima, Chair
CAPA21 Action Fund