Raids took place over the course of a few days, question efficacy of California’s ‘sanctuary state’ status
The clash over immigration policy between the state of California and the federal government has heated up in the last few weeks and doesn’t show signs of cooling down anytime soon.
The latest development in the ongoing immigration conflict came earlier this week when the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed it arrested a total of 232 undocumented immigrants in a string of raids across Northern California.
From Sunday, Feb. 25 to Wednesday, Feb. 28 ICE agents scoured an expanse of Northern California from Bakersfield to the California-Oregon border, knocking on doors and detaining individuals, which prompted outrage from the area’s immigrant advocates.
Local ICE field offices worked in conjunction with the Pacific Enforcement Response Center and the National Criminal Analysis and Targeting Center which led to the arrests.
Of those detained, 180 were either convicted criminals and failed to depart the U.S. after receiving a final order of removal or were previously deported but returned illegally.
The total number of arrestees is a major jump from Wednesday’s total, which was 150 people detained.
In a statement, ICE said it arrested people in San Francisco, Bay Point, Sacramento and Stockton. Half of those who were detained were arrested for violent crimes, officials said, adding that “sanctuary jurisdictions” have made it more difficult to conduct these operations.
The state passed SB 54 last year to officially declare California as a sanctuary state — which generally means that state law enforcement and offices are prohibited from sharing information with and/or aiding federal immigration officers from the arrest and capture of undocumented immigrants.
Many cities — including Bay Area jurisdictions like San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley — across the state have declared sanctuary status at the city-level which bars city officials from coordinating with federal immigration agents.
As of Friday, March 2, ICE hasn’t indicated whether or not the operation was over.
“Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal [immigrants] from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,” the federal agency said in a statement publicly acknowledging the operation called Keep Safe. “Thanks to the dedicated and professional work of ICE deportation officers, we were able to remove many public safety threats from the streets of the Bay Area during the past few days.”
Recently, ICE has been in a conflict with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who one day before the raid started warned residents of the sweep by federal immigration officers. Schaaf sent out the alert after confidential tips from “credible sources” and consultations with attorneys to check that she wasn’t opening herself up to federal prosecution.
“My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents — particularly our most vulnerable — and I know that Oakland is after when we share information, encourage community awareness and care for our neighbors,” Schaaf wrote in an email sent out to residents Saturday night.
ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan criticized Schaaf’s “irresponsible” warning, claiming that it put officers in danger “and alerted criminal [immigrants] — making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)