In summary

Trump administration officials defended immigration agents making arrests at state courthouses today in a letter sent to California’s chief justice in response to her request that federal officers stop “stalking” courts.

Trump administration officials defended immigration agents making arrests at state courthouses today in a letter sent to California’s chief justice in response to her request that  federal officers stop “stalking” courts.

The administration disputed her use of the word “stalking” to describe agents looking for undocumented immigrants at courthouses. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wrote: “As the chief judicial officer of the state of California, your characterization of federal law enforcement is particularly troubling.”

Two weeks ago, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye sent a strongly worded letter to the administration asking it to stop arrests at courthouses because they “should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws.”

Friday, Sessions and Kelly wrote that agents have had to make arrests in court because many California law enforcement agencies refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“As a result, ICE officers and agents are required to locate and arrest these aliens in public places, rather than in secure jail facilities where the risk of injury to the public, the alien, and the officer is significantly increased because the alien can more readily access a weapon, resist arrest, or flee,” the letter said.

The letter encourages the justice to talk with Governor Jerry Brown about local officials who choose not to work with the federal law enforcers.

Cantil-Sakauye said she appreciates that the administration admitted to making arrests at courthouses.

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Elizabeth Aguilera

Elizabeth Aguilera is an award-winning multimedia journalist who covers health and social services for CalMatters. She joined CalMatters in 2016 from Southern California Public Radio/KPCC 89.3 where she...