By Blake Sperling
A sense of fear has washed over Northern California this past week as more than 150 people of all ages were taken from their bay area homes and put into custody by federal officials with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Removal Operations.
This number was targeted to be much higher, and would’ve been so, if not for the warning given by the mayor of Oakland, Libby Schaaf, of ICE’s impending crackdown to extract illegal immigrants out of the Bay Area.
The mayor is under much ridicule from the ICE’s deputy director, Thomas D. Homan, for disclosing this information and alerting the public. “My priority is for the long term well-being of Oakland, and I know that our city is safer when we share information that leads to community awareness,” says Mayor Libby Schaaf, in response to the negative feedback she is getting from government officials. (NBC Bay Area)
The warning of ICE’s activity, as well as the jurisdiction in place in the sanctuary cities of San Francisco and Oakland, means ICE officers are forced to detain and arrest within the community putting themselves in increased danger as they are now searching for potentially dangerous criminals whom are aware of their forthcoming.
Undocumented immigrants even without a criminal record have been hiding in their homes due to the possibility of an ICE arrest and deportation. According to a statement given by the ICE, “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately, and the agency prioritizes public and national security threats, immigration fugitives and illegal reentrants. However, all of those in violation of immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
Sanctuary cities restrict local resources and funds to cooperate with any federal authorities to administer immigration laws. Imprisoned criminal aliens are protected from any ICE detainer request and law enforcement does not have to inform federal immigration authorities that these individuals are being released from their custody.
On Tues March 13, Trump visited San Diego where he had a chance to view eight different prototypes of border wall designs. Dressed in red, white and blue formal suit attire, with the scaling border prototypes providing his backdrop, Trump gives a speech in which he states, “California sanctuary policies put the entire nation at risk. They’re the best friend of the criminal.”
Scenarios, such as this recent crackdown, are not something new. ICE is not something new. According to the New Yorker, the organization has more than four hundred field offices nationwide, with somewhere around twenty thousand employees. Since the birth of the Trump administration, arrests by immigrations officers have skyrocketed. According to an article written by NBC news, “Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who officers pick up people for deportation away from the border, made 143,470 arrests, an increase of 25 percent from 114,434 a year earlier. After trump took office, ICE arrests surged 40 percent from the same period a year before.”
President Trump has put the issue of illegal immigration at the top of his agenda, even before he officially took office. Controversy has surrounded the way he has approached immigration and many people are in disagreement with the way he is addressing it. One thing for sure is that there seems to be an absence of professionalism in the way he speaks and confronts this matter, which is only adding insult to injury to those affected by the recent crackdown and deportations.