South Bay immigrant rights group expresses no love for ICE on Valentine's Day

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- ICE is feeling no love from some of its neighbors in Morgan Hill. The office there was the scene of a protest rally Wednesday over the impact its presence has had on immigrant families and schools.

REPORT: ICE to start tracking license plates across U.S.

It was quite the opposite of a typical Valentine's Day greeting. Immigrant rights organizers and supporters aren't happy that ICE had a sub-station in Morgan Hill. "With them having an office in Morgan Hill, they're spreading the hate, they're spreading the feat," rally participant Sepideh Sanie said.

ICE agents working at this facility are involved in deportations and criminal cases, although some people think it may be agents doing audits to identify undocumented workers.

ICE's mere presence here has had a chilling effect on the immigrant community, according to the vice mayor. "People are afraid to call 911 for legitimate reasons, for fear of their life, their safety and to report crimes," Morgan Hill Vice Mayor Rich Constantine said.

Another bone of contention is whether this is a detention facility.

An ICE spokesperson says there are no detention cells in this facility. Vice Mayor Constantine says the zoning laws do not allow them. However, as a federal agency, ICE could still put them in without the city's permission.

RELATED: New concern after ICE agents hit 77 NorCal businesses

The facility has been the scene of several protests since it opened over a year ago.

ICE issued this statement: "ICE fully respects the rights of all people to voice their opinion without interference. The Department of Homeland Security remains committed to the enforcement of our nation's immigration laws."

A man who saw the protest disagreed with their point of view. He declined to give his name. "They're going to have to build the wall and then they've got to get in line and take their turn to become American citizens. That's the solution. The rule of law," he said.

Click here for more stories about immigration.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.