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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 
dangerous felons.

   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 
specific operation.

   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 


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