In response to reports that federal agencies have announced they will run a massive immigration sweep in Northern California to strike against sanctuary laws, Indian American freshman Congressman Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has voiced his displeasure.
“This is simply wrong. On October 5th, Governor (Jerry) Brown signed legislation declaring that local law enforcement agencies are not supposed to do ICE’s job. Now the administration is targeting immigrants to make a political statement,” Khanna, who represents California’s 17th Congressional District, which encompasses much of Silicon Valley, said in a statement. “Immigrants are the backbone of our country and such raids will only incite fear in our communities and undermine public safety. We must stand up for their rights.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced they plan to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to an SF Gate report.
The campaign, centered in the San Francisco Bay Area, could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Donald Trump, the report said.
The operation would go after people who have been identified as targets for deportation, including those who have been served with final deportation orders and those with criminal histories, the report said, citing an anonymous source. The number could go up if officers come across other undocumented immigrants in the course of their actions and make what are known as collateral arrests, it said.
“Last week, I joined with Rep. Gomez and Lofgren and other members of the California congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Department of Homeland Security of Secretary Nielsen regarding recent comments made by Thomas Homan, acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to circumvent California state laws and increase enforcement in our communities,” Khanna added in his statement. “The letter states these statements are a direct threat to Californians and we request a meeting with Secretary Nielsen and Acting Director Homan so that he may clarify his statements before members of Congress.”
Homan slammed Brown for signing SB54 in October, which he said undermined public safety, and signaled he was prepared to take action, the SF Gate report added.
He said at the time that the federal government would not allow California to be “a sanctuary state for illegal aliens,” and would have 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,” the publication added
Early this month, Homan told Fox News that “California better hold on tight.” He said that if local politicians “don’t want to protect their communities, then ICE will,” the report said.
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., joined Khanna with her displeasure of the sweep, the report said.
“(Immigrants) must not be targeted in raids solely because they are Californians,” she said, adding that the large-scale operation would show that “the administration is carrying out its enforcement actions to make a political point and not based on the security of the country.”
The source who spoke to The Chronicle said the plan calls for immigration officers to be flown in from other parts of the country to help carry out the operation. The sweep could span more than one day and will include enforcement of work sites suspected of illegally employing undocumented immigrants, the source said in the report.
(See earlier India-West story about the immigration raids on 7-Eleven stores here.)