On November 21, US Attorney General William Barr sent a letter to Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walter, criticizing the recent ban on courthouse arrests by ICE. The letter, co-signed by Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, also addressed Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst of Washington, who is considering implementing a similar policy.
The rule, established a week prior, prevents federal immigration agents from making arrests in or near courthouses without a judicial warrant. Previously, ICE and Customs and Border Protection officers were able to use administrative warrants issued by their agencies.
In the letter, the Attorney General referred to the new rule as “dangerous and unlawful,” as it jeopardizes public safety by forcing law enforcement officers to “release criminal aliens into communities in your States, endangering the public and forcing it to bear the cost of any additional criminal acts they may proceed to commit.”
Furthermore, he stated that federal immigration agents are free to continue making administrative arrests, citing the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.
The letter ended with seven examples of “released criminal aliens who have gone on to commit even more heinous crimes.” Barr and Wolf went out of their way to emphasize that they were “not isolated cases.”
OPB reports that both Walters and the Washington Supreme Court declined to comment on the letter.
By Brandon Urey