Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice: No ICE in State Courthouses without Judicial Warrant

By Steve Pomper  

By now, we’re used to an odd proclivity displayed by some politicians and political ideologues to protect people in the U.S. illegally. Now, I can understand someone might feel sympathy for otherwise law-abiding people in the United States illegally, which are most of them.

Even more, I can understand having empathy for so-called “Dreamers.” People brought here by their parents, through no fault of their own as kids. Many have only known the U.S. as home, are not fluent in their parent’s native language, and are effectively American.

However, I also understand Americans and legal immigrants who oppose DACA because it’s undeniable the program creates an incentive for people to sneak into the U.S. But setting that reasonable discussion aside, what is this penchant for some highly placed political folks, even within the criminal justice system, to protect illegal aliens who are dangerous felons?

It’s just plain weird.

In researching the issue, the only notion approximating an “explanation” I’ve found is a wacky theory that arresting and deporting violent illegal alien criminals somehow reflects negatively on all immigrants. This is obviously a warped justification to do something so shameful and stupid as to protect dangerous people who prey on Americans, including cops.

So, with this obvious danger to public safety, wouldn’t it be logical to increase rather than decrease the cooperation between state and federal agencies? Of course, right? But apparently Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters disagrees. Rather than make things easier (and safer) for ICE to take dangerous, illegal alien criminals off the streets, she is making it harder.

According to FOX 12 KPTV (Salem, OR.), “A new rule has been put in place that prohibits U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from making arrests in Oregon state courthouses without a judicial arrest warrant.” An administrative warrant, an authority granted to ICE by Congress, is no longer good enough. No call for Congress to amend the current laws. No, just ignoring another law by judicial fiat.

The state court is attempting to add layers of risk and burdens for ICE personnel that it likely has no authority to impose. ICE issued a statement on the matter. “ICE ERO [Enforcement and Removal Operations] officers have been provided broad at-large arrest authority by Congress and may lawfully arrest removable aliens in courthouses, which is often necessitated by local policies that prevent law enforcement from cooperating with ICE efforts to arrange for a safe and orderly transfer of custody in the setting of a state or county prison or jail and put political rhetoric before public safety.”

Think about that: This new rule, the latest added to the sanctuary city arsenal, creates dangerous situations for ICE agents. Sanctuary cities won’t allow their cops to assist ICE agent in making arrests even outside courthouses. So, the last safest place where an illegal alien criminal is less likely to be armed or to resist, the Oregon State Supreme Court chief justice is taking away. Oregon is the third state after New York and New Jersey to establish such an anti-law enforcement rule.

In Orwellian “court-speak” the chief justice justified her new rules. Apparently, making it harder for courts to cooperate with ICE “protects the integrity of the state judicial process.” Walters asserts this new rule will “allow state courts to fully hold accountable people accused of a crime.” So, decreasing the chances violent illegal immigrant criminals will be incarcerated and deported, somehow fully holds people accountable for their crimes. Really?

Her Honor explains, “[ICE] arrests in courthouses have interfered with judicial proceedings …” She asserts ICE has taken defendants into custody “before they have been sentenced or completed their sentences.” Does this ring true to you?

And, just to make sure people don’t think she has a political agenda, Chief Justice Walters assures us that, “We are adopting this rule to maintain the integrity of our courts and provide access to justice not to advance or oppose any political or policy agenda.” Why would she even make this proviso if advancing or opposing any political or policy agenda weren’t exactly what she was doing? Just asking.

And if you needed another reason to doubt the ostensible altruism behind this rule, “The ACLU calls the new rule a huge win, saying, “ICE agents dressed in plain clothes are using the courts to make violent, aggressive arrests without any kind of warrant.” There are just too many problems with this verbal vomit to waste time addressing each item. Just remember today’s ACLU is not the ACLU of your grandparents. Just ask Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz, a former ACLU board member.

The ACLU’s radicalism was on full display with this comment as reported by KPTV. “[The ACLU] hopes Thursday’s decision will allow all Oregonians to feel safe when going to court, especially those who fear this could happen to them.” This doesn’t pass the cop sniff test.

Attorney Leland Baxter-Neal, an ACLU of Oregon lawyer says he received a phone call from a man who said he feared coming to court to fight a speeding ticket. According to Baxter-Neal, the man said he “was afraid because of his skin tone that he might be harassed by ICE.” Wow! What a perfect phone call to receive just in time to issue a public response to this new rule. Synchronicity, I guess.

Aside from courthouses, the state has also reportedly requested ICE add schools, hospitals, and places of worship to the list of “sensitive locations” restricting ICE. Strangely, ICE declined the expanding of Oregon’s ICE arrest deserts.

The public may comment on the new rule starting in mid-December. The (Uniform Trial Court Rules) UTCR Committee will review the public comments in April 2020. So, if you have anything to say in support of federal law enforcement trying to keep you safe, especially if you live in Oregon, that will be your chance.

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