Illegal immigrants—no matter who or where they are—are subject to arrest, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said Tuesday. This includes victims of crime, witnesses to those crimes, and those in a courthouse.
DHS spokesman David Lapan said at a news briefing that some of those victims and witnesses could be criminal immigrants themselves who pose a threat to the country or have been ordered to leave the U.S. in the past.
His comments come as local officials have spoken out against ICE agents making arrests in courthouses, arguing that targeting illegal immigrants there will deter some from coming forward to report crime or cooperate in investigations.
Los Angeles officials, for example, are already attributing a drop in reported crimes to President Trump's illegal immigration crackdown. […]
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said last month that his city has seen a 25 percent decrease in the number of sexual assaults reported by Latinos living in the city and a drop of about 10 percent in the number of reported domestic violence cases since Trump took office.
Lapan defended the practice of courthouse arrests, however, because some jurisdictions aren’t cooperating with detainer requests by federal agents, and are releasing potentially deportable immigrants before ICE agents have a chance to take them into federal custody.
In a letter last month to the chief justice of the California Supreme Court DHS Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions also defended the practice of courthouse arrests.
"Because courthouse visitors are typically screened upon entry to search for weapons and other contraband, the safety risks for arresting officers and persons being arrested are substantially decreased," they wrote.