Oregon Courts Try to Lock Out ICE
By David Jaroslav | FAIR Take | November 2919
Oregon recently became the latest state to order Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) out of its courthouses, elevating the rights of criminal aliens at the expense of public safety.
In 1987, Oregon became the first sanctuary state in the nation, enacting its sanctuary law, which forbade law enforcement officials’ cooperation with federal immigration enforcement.
However, Oregon’s sanctuary law didn’t go far enough to satisfy the open-borders crowd. On October 14, Martha Walters, the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, issued a new sanctuary court rule. This rule does not allow anyone to make a “civil arrest” in a state courthouse or its “environs” without a warrant or other order signed by a judge. The definition of “environs” is expansive and includes “the vicinity around a courthouse, as well as all public entryways, driveways, sidewalks, and parking areas intended to serve a courthouse.”
Oregon’s new ICE lockout rule is similar to others recently adopted by California, New York and New Jersey. In Massachusetts, a federal court imposed an ICE lockout rule after a lawsuit initiated by local district attorneys and open-border advocates. The rule in Massachusetts is being appealed.
The federal Immigration and Nationality Act gives ICE and other federal immigration agencies the authority to make immigration arrests, both with and without warrants, anywhere in the country, which under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution clearly preempts these state rules. Moreover, there is no such thing as a judicial immigration warrant, as federal law grants authority to issue immigration warrants to ICE supervisors, not judges.
Chief Justice Walters stated that she was “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.” Nevertheless, the move was immediately “applauded” by open-borders advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
ICE spokeswoman Tanya Roman fired back, saying “[i]t is ironic that elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country,” and adding that the idea of judicial warrants for immigration violations is “simply a figment created by those who wish to undermine immigration enforcement and excuse the ill-conceived practices of sanctuary jurisdictions that put politics before public safety.”
The actual enforcement of these lockout rules is unclear. If state or local officials physically interfere with ICE agents doing their jobs, it would likely be a federal crime. However, we expect more ICE lockout rules will be implemented in other open-border states in the upcoming months.
On Thursday, William Barr, the Attorney General of the United States, and Chad Wolf, the Acting Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, sent a joint letter to the chief justices of both the Oregon and Washington Supreme Courts urging them to “reconsider this dangerous and unlawful course of action.” To view the full letter, please click here.