In response to a reported federal operation that would crack down on illegal immigrants throughout the northern part of California, some police officials said Wednesday they will not be helping in the massive sweep.
Representative from law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area said Immigration and Customs Enforcement haven’t contacted local authorities about the plans. Moreover, they claimed they would refrain from participating in any such illegal immigration crackdown plans.
This sentiment recently went a step further, as the Oakland City Council passed a resolution which prevents local police from assisting ICE agents. The resolutions even prohibits local police from providing traffic control for activities related to enforcing America’s immigration laws.
As of Jan. 1, California became a sanctuary state, meaning that police are barred from “from asking people about their immigration status or participating in federal immigration enforcement activities in most cases,” according to Fox News.
Yet, the ICE-led campaign against illegal immigration is rumored to happen within weeks, with officials looking to arrest more than 1,500 illegal aliens.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle, which cited an unnamed source, it would become the largest enforcement action of its kind under the administration of President Donald Trump.
The operation would also target those who have previously been identified for deportation, including those who have received final deportation orders and individuals with criminal backgrounds.
But the estimated number of arrests may even go up as officers come across other illegal immigrants and make what the Chronicle referred to as “collateral arrests.”
However, it seems the rift between federal and local law enforcement has only been growing.
Police departments in many northern California cities claimed to be unaware of an upcoming major operation involving ICE.
“We know nothing about anything to do with what ICE is doing — we’re as out of the loop as anyone else in the public,” said Alameda County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly.
San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop, meanwhile, said that in the past, ICE has given notice when it are about to launch a major operation. However, ICE has not asked for help from her officers with upcoming raids.
Oakland police spokeswoman Officer Johnna Watson said her department had not been alerted regarding upcoming raids targeting illegal immigrants. Watson also said Chief Anne Kirkpatrick would follow the city’s recent resolution, as she “supports and values Oakland as a sanctuary city.”
Many federal officials have expressed frustration with current policies surrounding sanctuary cities, as the rules adopted by state and local governments are limiting cooperation with ICE agents.
In a statement given last month, Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan stated that California “better hold on tight,” adding that if local authorities “don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will.”
The acting director’s statement reflects the Trump administration’s viewpoint on sanctuary cities, as the laws within them make it harder to crack down on illegal immigration — something this upcoming sweep is bound to do.
Planned sweeps continue to draw negative criticisms from California lawmakers, with many giving a scathing reaction.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated the move was “deeply shameful,” and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León called it an outright threat from the current administration to “weaponize federal agencies against California.”
Going one step further, Democrat Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris penned a letter to Homan, admitting they were “deeply concerned” about the Chronicle’s report regarding an upcoming raid, and explaining that they’d like to be briefed on any enforcement plans.
“Rather than focusing efforts on violent criminals,” the senators wrote, “raids carried out in neighborhoods and workplaces could result in the deportation of individuals who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
In a statement Wednesday, ICE officials only said that they “could not speculate” on future enforcement actions.
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