In just 3 days, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested more than 150 undocumented immigrants in the northern region of California.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, the operation was carried out as "a sweep" from the Central Valley to the northernmost areas of the state, "knocking on doors and detaining people" in the cities of San Francisco, Bay Point, Sacramento, and Stockton.
According to the written statement of the agency’s officials, "half of those detained had criminal convictions, including violent crimes."
The mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf warned the wave of raids during the weekend declaring publicly that, according to “credible sources”, the ICE would begin to sweep the communities starting on Sunday.
For the acting director of ICE, Thomas Homan, Schaaf's attitude would have been "reckless and clearly based on her political agenda."
“Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,” Homan said. “Because these jurisdictions prevent ICE from arresting criminal aliens in the secure confines of a jail, they also force ICE officers to make more arrests out in the community, which poses increased risks for law enforcement and the public.”
On the contrary, for Mayor Schaaf, her community (which 25.4% of citizens are of Hispanic or Latino origin) deserved "to know their rights and their legal options." In a press statement last Tuesday, Schaaf defended her decision by saying that, “It was my intention that one mother, or one father, would use the information to help keep their family together,” the mayor said. “I do not regret sharing this information. It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together.”
Likewise, San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell issued a statement saying that the city "will not cower while the administration pursues their political plan of haphazardly punishing sanctuary cities."
“We stand with our hardworking, law-abiding immigrant neighbors and we are unified in our response to the divisive rhetoric of this president.”
This is the third operation of intimidation carried out by ICE during the last two months in California, after arresting more than 200 allegedly undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles in early February and harassing 122 businesses that may have employed undocumented citizens during the month of January.