The city of Oakland is bracing for the possibility of enduring massive immigration raids conducted by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or ICE.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf disclosed last evening of February 24 that she received information from a number of credible sources that ICE would be gearing up for raiding operations in the Bay Area of Northern California and would include Oakland. ICE is expected to round up suspected illegal immigrants residing in these areas.
Mayor Schaff reiterated that her public disclosure was not intended to create panic but to alert citizens of Oakland to make sure they are adequately protected. She said it was not possible to release exact information on ICE’s targets for their raiding operation:
“My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents particularly our most vulnerable. And I know that Oakland is safer when we share information, encourage community awareness and care for our neighbors.”
The Oakland city council had voted last summer to terminate an agreement the city had with the ICE which allowed them to work with the police force. In a move seen to further segregate the ICE, Oakland enacted a directive that prevented city officials from cooperating with the ICE.
The decision to part separate ways from the ICE stemmed from the agency’s raid on 100 7-11 stores to arrest undocumented workers. Most of the 7-11 stores were located in Northern California.
In her statement, Schaff reiterated these directives and emphasized a state law that likewise prevents business owners from assisting an ICE agent in any way. The law also prohibits federal agents from entering employee-only areas:
“Oakland is a city of law-abiding immigrants and families who deserve to live free from the constant threat of arrest and deportation. I believe it is my duty and moral obligation as mayor to give those families fair warning when that threat appears imminent.”
ICE officials claim they are unaware of the raiding operations Mayor Schaaf has been referencing in her statements:
“There are ICE operations every day and it is unclear what the mayor is referring to.”