Trump has begun executing his immigration plan in earnest, seemingly retaliating against the state of California for becoming a “sanctuary state.” California was already replete with sanctuary cities, which don’t turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But Trump and Republicans don’t like that at all, and have vowed to crack down.
And cracking down they are. ICE is planning a major sweep in San Francisco and elsewhere in northern California sometime in the next several weeks. They’re looking to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants. They’re looking for people who have already been targeted for deportation, including those with criminal histories. However, they could also get a lot of collateral arrests, and they don’t care that means arresting people who don’t have criminal histories and possibly leading to arresting certain people for no reason.
But ICE’s acting director thinks that California has absolutely zero right to declare itself a sanctuary state. He said that means ICE has no choice but to “conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at work sites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community.”
In other words, ICE literally plans to go door-to-door to find the immigrants they’re looking for. Ever since Trump took office, ICE has repeatedly threatened to go into communities this way to find and arrest undocumented immigrants.
In response to this, Oakland decided to stop all cooperation with immigration officials late last night. City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan sums it up very well:
It is NOT acceptable for the Oakland administration to collude with ICE, as this Federal agency is targeting non-criminals, harassing people based on their national origin, and undermining our justice system… The head of ICE under Trump has publicly stated that his intention is to strike fear into communities, and now he is targeting California and cities like Oakland.”
Sweeps like this can have devastating effects on communities, not least because sanctuary cities help ensure that undocumented immigrants can report on crimes, and testify in court, without fear that talking to the authorities will subject them to immigration enforcement. Without that protection, they’ll stay in the shadows, making it harder to solve crimes and making already-dangerous cities even more dangerous.
There’s a reason Trump’s ICE is known in some circles as ICEstapo, and this is it.
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