Non­crim­i­nal im­mi­grant ar­rests soar

Fed­eral agents en­snare thou­sands in Trump crack­down in Cal­i­for­nia

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - BAY AREA - By Hamed Aleaziz

Im­mi­gra­tion ar­rests of peo­ple with­out crim­i­nal con­vic­tions con­tinue to soar in Cal­i­for­nia, where the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion em­pha­sized its crack­down with a Feb­ru­ary sweep in the north­ern part of the state meant to coun­ter­act pro-im­mi­grant sanc­tu­ary laws.

From Oc­to­ber through March, more than 3,400 “non­crim­i­nals” were ar­rested by Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment’s Cal­i­for­nia of­fices, the agency said Thurs­day.

That was a sig­nif­i­cant jump from the same time pe­riod a year ear­lier, which in­cluded the fi­nal 3½ half months of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s term, when about 1,000 “non­crim­i­nals” were ar­rested by the agency through the Cal­i­for­nia of­fices, which in­clude San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The San Francisco field of­fice also en­com­passes Reno, Hawaii, Saipan and Guam, but most of the ar­rests in­cluded in the sta­tis­tics come from within Cal­i­for­nia.

To­ward the end of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, the agency was di­rected to tar­get cer­tain se­ri­ous crim­i­nals for ar­rest.

Pres­i­dent Trump, who has said un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants are bring­ing crime to the coun­try, signed an ex­ec­u­tive or­der that made nearly ev­ery un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grant a pri­or­ity for re­moval. Last year, the act­ing head of ICE, Thomas Ho­man, said all un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants should “be afraid” that agents would be com­ing for them.

The trend is sim­i­lar across

the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the new data. More than 26,000 “non-crim­i­nals” were ar­rested from Oc­to­ber through March — the first six months of the fis­cal year — com­pared with a lit­tle more than 13,000 the year be­fore in the U.S.

Though the im­mi­grants in this group did not have con­vic­tions, ICE said that more than 16,000 of the 26,000 peo­ple had been charged with some type of crime.

De­por­ta­tions of im­mi­grants ar­rested by ICE also went up from Oc­to­ber through March — from 36,195 in­di­vid­u­als to 45,585 in the same time pe­riod a year ear­lier.

Ho­man has said that be­cause of lo­cal and state sanc­tu­ary laws that limit co­op­er­a­tion with im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties, of­fi­cers would have to work harder in Cal­i­for­nia and would be forced to make ar­rests in com­mu­ni­ties be­cause of ICE’s in­abil­ity to pick up many in­di­vid­u­als from lo­cal jails.

Ho­man warned that ICE of­fi­cers would in­evitably come across other un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants in the course of tar­geted ac­tions and make what are known as col­lat­eral ar­rests.

“When our of­fi­cers go out there, it is more of­ten than not that they are en­coun­ter­ing more than that in­di­vid­ual,” Corey Price, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of ICE’s En­force­ment and Re­moval Op­er­a­tions, which han­dle im­mi­gra­tion ar­rests and de­por­ta­tions, said Thurs­day.

Price said that re­gard­less of whether un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants have crim­i­nal records, they have “vi­o­lated our im­mi­gra­tion laws.”

Dur­ing a four-day op­er­a­tion at the end of Feb­ru­ary — which gained wider ex­po­sure due to Oak­land Mayor Libby Schaaf, who warned im­mi­grants hours be­fore it be­gan — ICE of­fi­cers trav­eled from the Cen­tral Val­ley to the north­ern reaches of Cal­i­for­nia to de­tain peo­ple.

Of the 232 peo­ple ar­rested, ICE said, 115 had prior crim­i­nal con­vic­tions, in­clud­ing some for vi­o­lent or sexual of­fenses. But the agency also said that it “no longer ex­empts classes or cat­e­gories of re­mov­able aliens from po­ten­tial en­force­ment.”

Ir­fan Khan / Los Angeles Times 2017

Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment agents in River­side con­duct a raid to ap­pre­hend un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants in 2017. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion crack­down in Cal­i­for­nia has in­ten­si­fied in 2018.

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