Activists in Santa Clara County prepare for planned mass ICE raids

Community leaders across the Bay Area are bracing for potential deportation raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents over the weekend. They want residents to know their rights and what to do if ICE shows up. 

In Santa Clara County, the immigrant community is on edge.

Naomi Islas worries about her parents and about what a mass ICE enforcement might mean for them.

She says, "When these threats happen, I feel more scared than angry because I don't want to lose them. I don't want to raise my siblings by myself."

But panic is what community leaders want to avoid.

And they say that's why their Rapid Response Network exists.

Created after the 2016 election, it's a 24-hour hotline meant to give immediate help, if and when ICE shows up.

Father Jon Pedigo with Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County says, "We will be able to give you information at that moment and connect you with people that will be able to be at your house, be at your neighborhood, be at your door within minutes. We will connect you to legal representation as well."

It's meant to inform people of their rights and inform the community ICE is there. It also has the backing of both Santa Clara County and San Jose city officials.

Eunice Hernandez with Sacred Heart Community Service says, "That makes a big difference to a community, especially an immigrant community, to know that their elected officials welcome them here and will do whatever they can to uphold their constitutional rights."

ICE officials say they're simply upholding the law and that these aren't raids, they are "targeted immigration enforcement."

And in a statement, they say they're prioritizing the arrest and removal of those who pose a threat to national security and public safety.

But community leaders say there may be collateral arrests too of those in the wrong place at the wrong time.

While the threat looms, some local churches and synagogues are offering sanctuary to those who are undocumented. And community leaders are advising people to come up with an emergency family plan.

Naomi Islas and her parents have one.

She says, "They've seen my other family members get deported. They know what they have to do. I know what I have to do."

The Rapid Response Hotline number is 408-290-1144.