Advocates call ICE's arrests of more than 125 undocumented immigrants a political move ahead of election

Luz Pena Image
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Advocates call recent ICE arrests a political tactic ahead of election
Immigration advocates denounce ICE's recent 125 arrests of undocumented immigrants and are calling it dangerous during COVID-19, and also believe it's a political move ahead of the election.

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) announced they made 125 statewide apprehensions from Sept. 18 to Oct. 3.

They said everyone arrested was an undocumented immigrants with prior convictions.

RELATED: Immigrants died in US custody after poor care, congressional investigation finds

"This is totally inappropriate especially during the pandemic. Putting ICE agents in danger, putting potentially people they are arresting in danger," said San Mateo County Supervisor, David Canepa.

Supervisor Canepa denounced these arrests and called them a political tactic 25 days from the election, "They didn't release all their names but this, make no mistake about it, is we have a presidential election coming up and this is purely about politics and the administration appealing to their base of voters."

ICE categorized their operation as one free of politics and responded in part, "ICE takes many factors into account when targeting and arresting individuals, including their criminal and immigration history."

VIDEO: Coronavirus impact: Bay Area couple caught in middle of new ICE rules on student visas

International students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer to another college if their schools offer classes entirely online this fall, under new guidelines issued Monday by federal immigration authorities.

The latest arrest reported in the Bay Area by ICE was at the Westlake Village Apartments apartment complex in Daly City. The person arrested was a 29 year old man from Guatemala with several DUI's.

Another arrest took place in San Jose where fear among the undocumented community is increasing.

"Llego la imigracion ahi donde trabja mi hija. Llegaron preguntando..," said San Jose resident, Yolanda Chavez. (Immigration arrived to my daughter's job and they kept asking questions)

Yolanda Chavez described the agonizing moments when ICE agents tried to enter her daughter's workplace in the South Bay. Now her daughter is refusing to go outside.

RELATED: Community leaders call for halt of ICE transfers to stop COVID-19 spread

"They are not showing a judicial warrant to families. They are basically printing out a paper and stamping it and saying we are taking you," said Edwin Carmona Cruz, Co-director Pangea Legal Services.

Immigration advocates say ICE agents are tricking people into give up information.

"It's an extension to the Donald Trump administrations political agenda so the fact that they are conduction these operation in sanctuary city is them trying to send a message and to instill fear into our communities," said Carmona Cruz.

They are also seeing an increase of calls to the Bay Area rapid response network. An emergency line created to help undocumented immigrants when faced with an ICE agent.

"24 hours a day, seven days a week we have advocates and legal observers and attorneys who are ready to respond. Just in case there are any activity in their community," said Carmona Cruz.

For a list of numbers from the Rapid response network click here.