Federal agents reportedly detained at least four people in Northern California on Sunday after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned of an impending Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation, an immigration advocate said.
Marisela Esparza, a program manager for the San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network who coordinates a hotline that collects and responds to reports of ICE activity in The City, said the detentions were reported in Sacramento, Napa and Monterey counties.
It’s unclear whether the detentions were routine or related to the operation that Schaaf said ICE planned to launch in the Bay Area by Sunday night. The mayor cited “multiple credible sources” but had no further details such as the exact location where the operation would happen.
An ICE spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment to confirm the operation or the detentions.
Esparza said at least one of the two people detained in Sacramento had no criminal history. All four were transported the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco for processing, where Esparza claims ICE is not allowing lawyers to enter.
“This could lead the individual to signing away their rights because they don’t know what’s happening,” Esparza said. “It could lead to deportation for these individuals who might otherwise have a legal claim.”
As of Sunday afternoon, no ICE arrests had been reported in San Francisco since Schaaf’s announcement. Esparza said the hotline to report immigration raids in The City has been quiet.
Still, the announcement is likely to cause concern for undocumented residents and their families in San Francisco as President Donald Trump continues to criticize sanctuary cities for not assisting in federal deportation efforts.
“Given this administration’s use of fear mongering, it’s been very hard to know” whether the ICE operation will come to fruition, said Eleni Wolfe, immigration program director with Centro Legal de la Raza. “Our main concern is that the community doesn’t panic and not access vital services” such as school and work.
Esparza said families should be prepared for encounters with ICE by listing the Rapid Response Network hotline number in their phones and keeping immigration documents in secure locations. Families can learn more by attending Know Your Rights immigration trainings often held in San Francisco.
“Unfortunately this is the new normal,” Esparza said. “Our communities have been under persecution for a long time now. It’s just a moment for us to be more prepared and aware.”
Interim Mayor Mark Farrell also confirmed Sunday afternoon that there have been no reported ICE raids in The City since the announcement, but said “we must remain vigilant.”
“At this point in time, we do not have any information about any actions by ICE in San Francisco, but we are actively monitoring the situation with our community based partners,” Farrell said in a statement. “The federal government has no obligation to inform or partner with San Francisco on these actions.”
Farrell urged those who witness ICE activity in San Francisco to call the Rapid Response Network hotline at (415)200-1548.