Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 14 attorneys general yesterday, calling for an end to federal immigration arrests of non-citizens without a judicial warrant or court order in and around state courthouses.
In an amicus brief filed in State of Washington v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Raoul and the coalition argue in support of Washington state’s request for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt such arrests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Raoul said “No one should be afraid to visit courthouses to access the government services they need”, and that “Arrests like these may prevent immigrants from attending important court hearings or seeking protection from abusive partners. ”
Last month, Washington’s attorney general sued ICE, the CBP and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), among others, arguing that the federal government’s policy and practice of arresting non-citizens — both undocumented and those with legal status — at or around state courthouses violated the Administrative Procedure Act, the Tenth Amendment and the right of access to courts, which is protected by the First, Fifth, Sixth and 14th Amendments. Washington filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to immediately halt the federal government’s policies.
In the brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that the federal government’s arrest practices violate the common law privilege against civil arrests at courthouses, which has been recognized in Illinois and several other states.
The amicus brief further maintains that the federal government’s practice of conducting civil immigration arrests is deeply harmful to the effective functioning of state court systems. The brief states that dozens of these arrests have occurred at Illinois courthouses since 2017.
The Attorney General’s office says that it does not request information about immigration or citizenship status from anyone who contacts the office or files a complaint. Attorney General Raoul encourages individuals to contact his office to report instances of discrimination or harassment by calling his Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.