Nightmare for Dreamers Is Underway in California
Are illegal immigrants in California being singled out and targeted?
Within just the past few days, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have detained several immigrants facing deportation charges in California. Though not as widespread as originally feared, the raids across the northern part of the state have been disturbing. In spite of the fact that the majority of Americans want to keep our “dreamers” safe, one Napa man included in recent ICE roundup, originally came to this country as a four-year-old child.
The young man mentioned, Armando Nunez Salgado, now in his 30s, was one of at least 11 taken into custody on Sunday, February 25th. He was arrested at his family’s Napa home where his mother-in-law told reporters that he worked in the family’s construction business. According to Maricela Gutierrez, executive director of the San Jose-based Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN), ICE agents made other arrests that day in El Sobrante, Pinole, and Atwater. In addition, immigration rights advocates reported five arrests in Merced County, two apiece in Contra Costa and Sacramento Counties and one each in Monterey and Napa Counties. If you have unresolved immigration issues and live in California, you should contact a capable, compassionate immigration attorney now so that you are prepared for the challenges ahead.
Mayor Schaaf of Oakland first sounded a warning to her city’s “most vulnerable” residents on Saturday night, declaring that she was “sharing this information publicly not to panic our residents but to protect them.” She was unaware of precise locations that ICE operations would occur; she was only able to put everyone in the region on high alert. Mayor Schaaf was also motivated to provide the link to a website that would provide information regarding legal rights and options for those facing detention and possible deportation.
ICE Uses Fear as a Weapon
Well aware that ICE has previously used rumors of mass arrests to create fear and irrational behavior, Schaff is trying to calm the waters, saying, “our intent is for our community to go about their daily lives without fear, but [with] resiliency and awareness.”
“We understand ICE has used activity rumors in the past as a tactic to create fear,” said Schaaf. As a means of protecting those being targeted, Oakland schools, police officers and business owners have been prohibited from assisting ICE agents. Her viewpoint is that “Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation,” she said. “I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as Mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”
Councilman Noel Gallo Questions Her Motives
To Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo, Mayor Schaaf is not a savior. He views her warning as a manipulation to help get herself re-elected. Still, Schaaf is by no means alone in keeping her law enforcement personnel from assisting ICE agents. Many other Bay Area communities have also become Sanctuary Cities and will not allow local law enforcement to aid ICE agents in any way. For this reason, the agency has reportedly brought in dozens of agents from outside the area to assist them.
Is California being singled out and “punished” the Administration?
In other parts of the country, ICE is clearly focusing on ridding the U.S. of MS-13 gang members who are, by definition, committed to violence. In California, on the other hand, illegal immigrants being targeted are illegal immigrants who may have committed minor crimes, often many years prior to arrest. In addition, certain businesses have experienced series of raids, like those that plagued 7-Eleven stores earlier this year. It is important to understand how to proceed if you are arrested as an illegal immigrant at your workplace, so make sure to contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney as soon as possible. Having a protective attorney can make all the difference in how your case is handled.
Many people suspect that California is being used to show what may happen to other states if they follow a similar pattern of designating sanctuary cities and/or follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s lead by passing a state law that strictly limits the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities. As a spokesperson for those who suspect unwholesome motives for the ICE crackdowns in California, Congresswoman Jackie Speier claims that President Trump has targeted california because it’s a “blue state…and the president wants to make an example of California.” Her statement does not seem to be an exaggeration since one day after the new state law took effect, Acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan said, “ [We] will vastly increase our enforcement footprint in the state of California.”
Posted in: Immigration Law