SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed agents made more than 150 arrests across Northern California since Sunday.
The ICE statement released on Tuesday evening also chastised Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's decision over the weekend to warn of a pending ICE operation in the area.
"The Oakland mayor’s decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased that risk for my officers and alerted criminal aliens -- making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold," ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan said in a statement.
Despite the arrests, ICE maintains that there are 864 "criminal aliens and public safety threats" in the community.
Schaaf responded to ICE's latest statement with a statement of her own on Tuesday saying she had no regrets about her decision.
"My statement on Saturday was meant to give all residents time to learn their rights and know their legal options. It was my intention that one mother, or one father, would use the information to help keep their family together.
I do not regret sharing this information. 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.
We know that law-abiding residents live in fear of arrest and deportation every day. My priority is for the long-term well-being of Oakland, and I know that our city is safer when we share information that leads to community awareness."
In addition, the mayor included a reminder for those who may be in need of legal representation and gave the information for Centro Legal de la Raza, an immigrants' rights resource. (https://centrolegal.org/acilep/)
On Sunday, she said it was her "ethical obligation" to provide information to her residents so that they could make their own decisions and get the proper representation if they needed.
ICE highlighted one person taken into custody by the San Francisco Fugitive Operations Team on Sunday: Armado Nunez-Salgado, 38, a citizen of Mexico and a documented Sureño gang member. ICE spokesman James Schwab said that Nunez-Salgado had been in California prisons for a total of 15 years stemming from past convictions including assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and hit-and-run. He had previously been removed from the country on four previous occasions, Schwab said.
According to the agency, other arrests include a Mexican citizen in Sacramento with criminal convictions for possession of a dangerous weapon, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, DUI, convicted felon in possession of a firearm, burglary, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. ICE says the individual is a documented Sureños gang member.
More detail on some of the other arrests were released.
In Sacramento, a citizen of Guatemala, who has a criminal conviction for false imprisonment was arrested.
In Bay Point, a citizen of Mexico, previously removed by ICE eight times and who has a criminal conviction for assault with a deadly weapon was arrested.
In Stockton, a citizen of Mexico was arrested, who has a previous criminal conviction for lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14-years-old. And in San Francisco, a citizen of Mexico, who has previous criminal convictions for battery and DUI was arrested.
Schwab said that ICE focuses its resources on people who "pose a threat" to national security and public safety, and does not conduct "indiscriminate" sweeps. However, Schwab added that "ICE no longer exempts classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement...Sanctuary cities and states are not immune from federal law."
Schwab added: "About half of the individuals arrested also have criminal convictions in addition to their immigration violations, including convictions for assault/battery, crimes against children, weapons charges and DUI."
The agency claims they are still seeking a Honduran citizen previously arrested for cocaine possession in San Francisco. That individual is said to be currently residing in Oakland as well as another citizen of Mexico previously arrested and convicted for carrying a loaded firearm, transportation and sale of narcotics and DUI.
The arrests in Northern California are mirroring what's going on elsewhere in the country. ICE issued a news release last week about 145 arrests in Texas and more than 200 arrests in Los Angeles the week of Feb. 16.
Since President Donald Trump became president, the number of administrative arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions has increased 30 percent, data from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows.
ICE made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year, when Barack Obama was president. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.
In addition to arresting twice as many immigrants who have not been convicted of crimes, ICE also arrested 105,736 immigrants with criminal convictions, a slight increase. That figure includes people with serious or violent offenses as well as those with lesser convictions, such as driving without a license or entering the country illegally. Earlier this month, ICE touted the arrest of Gonzalo “El Chano” Juarez-Limon, 48, in Texas, who was wanted in Mexico for a 1996 murder.
At the same time, fewer people were deported in fiscal year 2017 than in 2016, the data shows. Despite the overall removals drop, more people who already lived in the United States were deported in fiscal year 2017 compared with 2016.
ICE’s arrest totals in Trump’s first year in office are still much lower than they were during Obama’s early tenure. But, as the Washington Post points out, when Republicans blocked his effort to create a path to citizenship for millions living in the country illegally, Obama curtailed ICE enforcement, especially for those without serious criminal violations.
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