On Thursday, January 23, 2014 the Department of Homeland Security announced a decision to halt its troubling practice of arresting individuals at Kern County courthouses. “Stopping arrests in Kern County Courthouses a first step to start respecting the immigrant residents of this county who make up the majority of the worker base of this economy,” said Dolores Huerta.
In October, the ACLU called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to put an end to the sweeps through Kern County’s courthouses that led to the arrests of immigrants who were merely getting married, paying fines, or seeking domestic violence restraining orders. The Dolores Huerta Foundation and other community leaders from Kern Coalition for Citizenship protested to stop this dangerous policy of removing “safe zones” for undocumented immigrants who are attempting to comply with local laws.
We are asking The Department of Homeland Security to apply the Kern County policy nationwide and order all DHS personnel to refrain from conducting immigration enforcement actions on courthouse grounds. People go to courts to participate in important legal matters. People need to access the courts, without risking deportation. This is a matter of public safety, victim protection, and equal justice.