CA Officials Concerned About ICE Sweeps01/18 06:02
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California's attorney general said Wednesday he
is concerned about open-ended immigration sweeps at a time he and other state
officials say the Trump administration should be concentrating on deporting
Attorney General Xavier Becerra said while it is the federal government's
responsibility to protect the nation's borders, the goal should be public
safety, not deporting otherwise law-abiding immigrants who are in the country
"We will, as always, work with our federal partners in every respect to go
after drug dealers, human traffickers, potential terrorists," Becerra said.
"We're not in the business of deportation. We're in the business of public
Becerra and other Democrats spoke in response to an anonymous report in the
San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday that said federal officials are preparing
for a major immigration sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said agency
policy is to neither confirm nor deny the possibility or existence of a
ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan has repeatedly lambasted California and
Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, over a new state law that strictly limits the
cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities when
they are booked into jail for other reasons. A day after the law took effect in
California, he said ICE will "vastly increase our enforcement footprint in the
state of California."
"California better hold on tight," he told Fox News on Jan. 2. "They're
about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers in the
state of California. If the politicians in California don't want to protect
their communities, then ICE will."
Democratic U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris sent Homan a letter
Wednesday asking to be briefed on how raids are prioritized and for all
communications regarding upcoming raids in California.
"Diverting resources in an effort to punish California and score political
points is an abhorrent abuse of power, not to mention a terrible misuse of
scarce resources," they wrote.
Immigrant rights advocates had not stepped up their activism in response to
the report, but said anxiety remained high.
"We're always worried of what's going to come next from this
administration," said Juan Rivera of Carecen SF, a nonprofit that assists
Central American immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area and is part of a
rapid response network that alerts immigrants about ICE raids.
Becerra and former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, now
the University of California president, spoke at a news conference urging young
immigrants to apply to remain in the country after a federal judge prevented
Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Napolitano said when she was secretary under President Barack Obama from
2009 to 2013, immigration officials concentrated on deporting felons,
particularly violent felons, gang members, security threats and those caught
soon after crossing the border.
"The current administration has kind of erased all of those priorities and
said anybody in the country without documentation is fair game," she said. "I
think one can question whether that is the best use of our law enforcement
Deportation arrests have surged about 40 percent under Trump's presidency,
even without a budget increase.
Homan, in a recent interview with The Associated Press, said authorities
still target people with criminal histories but limits on access to local jails
will prompt them to chase them elsewhere, potentially arresting others who
happen to be there and are in the country illegally.
Trump and other administration officials have singled out San Francisco for
criticism, repeatedly raising the 2015 fatal shooting of Kate Steinle by
Mexican man who had been deported five times and was recently acquitted of