San Francisco– On election day, Tuesday March 3, federal immigration agents arrested a San Francisco resident in front of the courthouse steps of 850 Bryant Street as he was entering criminal court for a hearing. ICE agents acted without a judicial warrant and therefore in violation of state law.

The San Francisco Public Defender and the District Attorney have condemned this action, and are calling on ICE to stop making courthouse arrests.  Advocates say that this is the first time this type of courthouse immigration enforcement has occurred in San Francisco. Two weeks ago, ICE agents arrested at least 3 people at the Sonoma County Superior Court Campus.

“California law explicitly forbids a civil enforcement agency, including ICE, from making a civil arrest without a warrant outside a courthouse. ICE’s illegal conduct undermines community trust and public safety. This type of action scares people—including victims, witnesses, the accused, or those participating in treatment – and deters them from coming to court,” said San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju. “San Francisco will not allow such egregious abuse of power to go unchecked; we will provide immediate and zealous representation to anyone subject to such illegal activity.” 

“ICE actions in or near our courthouses deters people from accessing our justice system, making us all less safe,” said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. 

“ICE’s conduct here disturbed and disrupted the entire court,” said Emi MacLean, Deputy Public Defender. “We will stand up to prevent these attacks. The Bay Area has a vibrant network of legal and community advocates who are ready to provide immediate and aggressive defense for immigrants caught up in these kinds of illegal actions.” 

Studies have proven that sanctuary cities are safer than non-sanctuary cities. Crime is lower in sanctuary counties compared with non-sanctuary counties. Victims are also more likely to come forward, and immigrant communities are more likely to participate as witnesses to crimes.

There will be a joint press conference with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and community organizations on Monday, March 9, at 12pm on the steps of 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco. Details to follow.


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