Courthouses should be open to all. Yet in Washington State, courthouses are becoming one of the front lines in the struggle between immigrant rights and immigration enforcement. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU):
"Civil arrests at Washington courthouses, particularly immigration arrests, have created a climate of fear that is deterring and preventing Washington residents from safely interacting with the justice system. Since January 2018, there have been over 200 documented civil arrests of immigrants at courthouses in over 18 counties across Washington."
In response, a network of immigrant rights organizations, supported by Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) has created an accompaniment program to support immigrants when they go to court. You can find more information about our local accompaniment program, here.
House Bill 2567 would protect immigrants from arrest by immigration officers, unless they have a warrant. It protects peoples' constitutional right to have access to the courts--regardless of immigration status. The bill prohibits prosecutors and others who work at the court from reporting information about people to federal immigration enforcement. It requires our courts to collect information if immigration agents are visiting and conducting surveillance in our courthouses.
For further information, see the full ACLU statement about Courts Open to All.