Federal immigration authorities said California’s new sanctuary law forced this week’s sweep that netted 232 illegal immigrants in the Bay Area — and set off a massive controversy after Oakland’s mayor gave a public warning that may have helped hundreds of other migrants elude arrest.
Of the 232 arrests, 115 had felony or serious misdemeanor records. Another 65 had either been deported before and snuck back in, or were ignoring final deportation orders from an immigration judge.
But the remaining 52 were likely snared when officers were out in their communities looking for the priority targets.
In a statement announcing the final tallies, ICE said it was forced to go into the communities after California’s sanctuary policies cut off almost all cooperation and denied access to prisons and jails, leaving criminal migrants free.
“ICE has no choice but to continue to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, 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,” the agency said.
The sweep became controversial after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf put out a warning saying she had learned ICE was conduction an operation, and telling illegal immigrants to take necessary steps.
ICE chief Thomas D. Homan compared her to a gang lookout snitching on police.
Ms. Schaaf has publicly defended her warning, saying she has no regrets.
“It is Oakland’s legal right to be a sanctuary city and we have not broken any laws. We believe our community is safer when families stay together,” she said.
ICE said it went after priority targets, but also said it would “no longer” ignore entire classed of illegal immigrants, as had been policy under the Obama administration.
The previous administration’s policies carved more than 9 million of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants out of serious danger of deportation.
On Friday ICE announced nine arrests in a two-day operation in Indiana.
Source: Washington Times