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Federal officials defend immigration arrests in courthouses

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly are defending federal agents who make immigration arrests at courthouses after California’s top judge asked them to stop.

The officials sent a letter this week to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (TAN’-ee KAN’-teel sah-kah-OOH’-ay) saying state and local policies that bar police from turning over suspects for deportation have compelled federal agents to make arrests at courthouses and other public places.

They say in a letter dated Wednesday that courthouses are a safe place for agents to make arrests because visitors are typically screened for weapons.

Cantil-Sakauye wrote to federal officials that “stalking undocumented immigrants” at courthouses hinders access to justice. Sessions and Kelly took issue with her use of the word “stalking.”

A spokesman for the chief justice didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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