California Would Bar Immigration Arrests Inside Courthouses Under Bill Sent to Gov. Brown

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A proposal that would prohibit immigration arrests at state courthouses was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday, part of a broader move by Democrats to ensure public institutions remain “safe zones” for immigrants without legal status.

The approval comes as concerns continue to rise over the presence of federal immigration agents in courtrooms across the country. The latest such arrest to spark criticism took place this month in Sacramento.

“Civil arrests in our courthouses interrupt the administration of justice and hurt all those who use our courts — crime victims, survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence, and witnesses who are aiding law enforcement,” bill author Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) said.

The legislation would prevent law enforcement officials from making civil arrests during proceedings or while the person they wish to detain is conducting legal business. The proposal also gives judges the power to stop such arrests or other activities that interrupt their proceedings, or that threaten access to the court.

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