ICE Arrests in Courtrooms Raise Tensions Between California and Trump Administration Over Immigration Policy

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(Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

(Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Yovanny Ontiveros-Cebreros arrived at the Sacramento courthouse expecting to plead not guilty to felony drug charges and be allowed to go home. His attorney had said that was standard procedure.

Instead, an immigration agent approached the 38-year-old after his arraignment and put him in handcuffs, saying he was wanted for unlawful reentry into the United States.

With the Trump administration pushing for speedier deportations and hard-line immigration enforcement, California officials have tried to ensure that state courthouses — along with schools and hospitals — remain “safe zones” so that witnesses and crime victims, among others, won’t be afraid to come forward.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials maintain that making arrests in court in some ways is preferable because it provides a secure environment, where there’s no risk their target will be armed. ICE officials place the blame for more frequent arrests being made in courthouses on the policy meant to stop that from happening: California’s landmark “sanctuary” law.

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