STOCKTON (CBS13) — Close to 900 undocumented individuals in northern California have become the target of recent raids by officers with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Since Sunday, more than 150 people have been arrested in San Francisco, Sacramento and Stockton for what ICE says are violations of federal U.S. immigration laws.
Stockton city leaders are working with community groups to come up with a response to deal with the raids and help people understand their rights.
People living near this downtown Stockton neighborhood say they saw ICE enforcement officers knocking on doors. One neighbor even noticed a man being taken away in handcuffs.
“I feel like they need to leave the people alone because if they are here leave them alone. ICE needs to leave and go back to where they come from,” said neighbor, Ronnie Evans.
ICE deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day across the nation. According to officials with ICE, officers focus on people who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.
“With this new list, my hope is that it does not have any more people that are there for less than violent and less than serious offenses. In my opinion, I have a city to run, and so we need to have good trust amongst our law enforcement and our communities because that is a special relationship, that is a strong relationship and a fragile relationship,” said City Councilman Jesus Andrade.
Stockton city leaders say they been fielding calls, emails and messages over social media with citizens concerned over the raids and fearing their families would be torn apart.
“For whatever reason, the state has become a target. I think as a state we have to think about how we create a legal defense funds, what are some mechanisms we can put in place to make sure families especially children are not harmed by their parents being taken away with no warning, with no notice, and they are still here, figuring out how they live without parents. It’s freighting,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.
ICE officials say of the 150 people who have been arrested since Sunday, nearly half had criminal convictions including assault and battery, weapons charges and DUI charges. Community groups in Stockton are helping undocumented individuals know their rights through flyers and informational cards.
“We are asking people, don’t give false information either, it’s better not to say anything, don’t try and change your name, for sure we don’t want you to try and run, any of those things. We just want to make sure you remain silent until you get an attorney,” said Pastor Trena Turner, executive director of Faith in the Valley.