Federal immigration authorities are expected to begin sweeps in Los Angeles and elsewhere Sunday to arrest undocumented immigrants named in court-ordered deportation warrants.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to reveal specific details of the sweep. However, the Los Angeles Police Department issued a statement confirming the federal actions.
“The department is aware of upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions beginning this Sunday, directed toward individuals who have been issued final deportation orders,” the LAPD statement said. “These enforcement actions will include individuals residing in the Los Angeles region. The department is not participating or assisting in any of these enforcement actions.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed his opposition to the raids.
“Los Angeles will always stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters, and our law enforcement officers will never participate in these actions,” Garcetti said Friday. “No Angeleno should ever have to fear being snatched from their home or separated from their loved ones — and we are doing everything we can to provide immigrant families with the information and support they need.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva echoed those sentiments.
“I strongly oppose President Trump’s threats of mass deportations on Twitter and television,” Villanueva said in a statement released Friday. “His actions are irresponsible and unnecessary if in fact the President is truly concerned with removing violent undocumented felons to ensure your public safety. As your Los Angeles County Sheriff, I stand for everyone’s public safety and understand a basic principle of law enforcement practices, which is that we cannot ensure public safety if undocumented residents are afraid to report a crime.”
Before kicking off his re-election campaign, President Donald Trump tweeted Monday night that ICE agents “will begin deporting the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States … as fast as they come in.”
About 140 people are being targeted in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a statement, ICE said that due to “law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”
The agency said that it “prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” and stated that 90 percent of migrants arrested by ICE last year had a criminal record or pending charges.
California Governor Gavin Newsom called the proposed raids “cruel, misdirected and are creating unnecessary fear and anxiety.”
Newsom said he wanted state residents to know “they have legal rights and protections, regardless of their immigration status. California is a place of refuge — that includes our schools, our courts and our hospitals and clinics. We hold certain institutions sacred and people should continue to access programs and services they need.”
Immigration service providers reported that some communities are increasingly worried about the forthcoming actions.
“Our phones are ringing off the hook with immigrants calling and asking what their families can do in case a member is arrested by immigration authorities,” said coalition member Alicia Flores, executive director of the Hank Lacayo Youth and Family Center in Panorama City.
“We cannot afford a repeat of the mass raids and deportations against the Mexican community during the 1930s,” said Gloria Saucedo of the Centro Mexico community center in the San Fernando Valley. “That is why we are going to mobilize and organize our community like never before.”
Civil rights activist Dr. John Fernandez, a retired teacher who taught for 24 years at Roosevelt High School in Boyle Heights, said that undocumented immigrants should remember their rights if confronted by ICE agents.
“If they happen to come to your door, they cannot come in without a warrant,” he said. “Do not say anything and do not sign anything.”
In its statement, the LAPD said the department has told members of the Latino community that Los Angeles police officers would not be participating in the immigration sweeps.
“We are committed to protecting the public through meaningful relationship building and community partnerships,” the LAPD said.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore expressed concern about the raid’s effects.
“We know how unsettling and scary this is for the community,” Moore told the Times. “We are not an extension of ICE. I do worry about the intimidation it can create.”
The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a community advisory for immigrant families that might be targeted beginning this weekend, reminding them of several rights, including the right to have an attorney present when speaking with federal authorities.
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