Bay Area mayors speak out after federal agents detain multiple immigrants

Advocates say they've seen ICE agents "around movie theaters and taco trucks."

Deportation officers arrest illegal aliens during targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, CA on February 11, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency)
Deportation officers arrest illegal aliens during targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, CA on February 11, 2018. (Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency)

Federal immigration agents reportedly detained multiple people in the Bay Area in Northern California, according to immigrant advocates, one day after the Oakland mayor announced imminent raids would take place.

Bay Area-based immigrant rights groups like Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN) said they had seen the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents “around movie theaters and taco trucks,” according to reporting from a NBC local affiliate.

One of the individuals reportedly taken into custody over the weekend included an immigrant father from Napa, who was detained Sunday morning in his backyard. Family members told a local immigrant advocacy group that federal agents arrived in six unmarked patrol cars.

The day before on Saturday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent a press release warning residents that ICE could conduct enforcement operations “starting as soon as within the next 24 hours” citing information from “multiple credible sources.”

“As Mayor of Oakland, I am sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them,” Schaff wrote in her news release. She went on to provide information for “interested residents” to know more about their legal rights and options “in the event they face detention or know someone who needs legal representation.”

Schaaf noted that Oakland public schools have protocols that prohibit the city’s police officers to participate in ICE activities. She also said that California state law — in a policy that went into effect on January 1, 2018 — requires federal agents to have a judicial warrant or subpoena for employers to allow them into the workplace or for employers to tell their employees that a request has been made to review their immigration documents.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also tweeted, “[t]o our immigrant communities — we’ve got your back” and added similar information.

Liccardo urged residents to contact 911 and the police if they witness crimes or need emergency medical assistance. He also told residents to “continue to the essential tasks of their daily lives” like going to school and keeping medical appointments.

“[W]e must not allow mere rumors to undermine the life-sustaining activities of thousands of our immigrant families,” Liccardo added.

According to a 2017 Pew Research report, roughly 240,000 undocumented immigrants live in the Bay Area, as represented by data from the cities of San Francisco, Oakland, and Hayward. Another 120,000 undocumented residents live in the South Bay region of San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara.

News of the immigration enforcement sweeps come four days after President Donald Trump threatened to pull ICE out of California to punish the state for its “lousy management job” for supporting undocumented residents.

“We’re getting no help from the state of California,” Trump said during a listening session with the Parkland High School shooting survivors last week. “Frankly, if I pulled our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you’ve never seen in California. All I’d have to do is say ‘ICE, Border Patrol, leave California alone.”