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ACLU To ICE: Stop Arrests At Kern County Courthouses

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The ACLU says ICE agents have arrested people at Kern County courthouses.

The American Civil Liberties Union says that in the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested people at Kern County courthouses, while they were paying fines for tickets, obtaining marriage licenses, and appearing for court hearings.

In a letter sent yesterday, the ACLU asked ICE to investigate and halt this practice in Bakersfield.

“Our concern is that this seems to be a real practice, a campaign by ICE there, to use the courthouse as a regular location for doing enforcement actions,” says Michael Kaufman, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California.

The ACLU is also calling on ICE to treat courthouses as a sensitive location where they don’t do enforcement actions unless it’s absolutely necessary. Schools, hospitals and places of worship are already categorized this way.

In a written statement, ICE said it focuses on immigration enforcement that prioritizes cases involving convicted criminals, other public safety threats, and those who repeatedly violate immigration laws.

Rebecca Plevin was a reporter for Valley Public Radio from 2013-2014. Before joining the station, she was the community health reporter for Vida en el Valle, the McClatchy Company's bilingual newspaper in California's San Joaquin Valley. She earned the George F. Gruner Award for Meritorious Public Service in Journalism and the McClatchy President's Award for her work at Vida, as well as honors from the National Association of Hispanic Publications and the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Plevin grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker, a certified yoga teacher, and an avid rock-climber.
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