Lorena Gonzalez Bill Protects Californians from Civil Arrest in Courthouses

Friday, February 15, 2019

AB 668 prevents aggressive tactics by ICE officers to target immigrants

SACRAMENTO -- (Feb. 15, 2019) -- California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D - San Diego) has introduced legislation that will remove the threat of civil arrest in courthouses and encourage members of the immigrant community to access justice.

Priorities and tactics around immigration enforcement have escalated since the election of President Donald Trump. Assembly Bill 668 will address the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s pattern of aggressive activity within California courthouses and provide clearer guidelines for courtrooms and on the grounds of courthouses

“The courts have an institutional responsibility to ensure all Californians have safe and orderly access to justice,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “When people don’t feel safe showing up to court to act as a witness, pay a fine, or file papers because they may be subjected to civil arrest -- the system is broken.”

Immigrant communities are fearful of going to court. AB 668 will clarify the power of judicial officers to prevent activities that threaten access to courthouses, which includes protecting the privilege from civil arrest.

AB 668 also states that California’s Attorney General may bring forward a civil action if there is a reasonable cause to believe a violation of the bill’s provisions has occurred.

The removal of threat from civil arrest at courthouses will encourage members of the immigrant community to report violations of state laws or regulations and also encourage these individuals to participate in court proceedings, which serves the public interest of all Californians.

For questions on AB 668 or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Sami Gallegos (209) 658-7617.