SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — San Jose officials would have taken a different approach to immigration raids in that city than their Oakland counterparts.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said he would keep the public in the dark about immigration raids, even if he knew about them beforehand – choosing instead to preserve the tenuous, and at times strained, lines of communication between his department and federal agents.
A much different approach than Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf took when she sounded the alarm about the impending ICE raids on Saturday night.
Garcia also said he would keep the public in the dark about immigration raids, even if he knew about them beforehand – choosing instead to preserve the tenuous, and at times strained, lines of communication between his department and federal agents.
“If public officials have some kind of forewarning that there’s going to be some kind of action, it would be my hope that they would at least share it with the rapid responders who are working with them,” said Father Jon Pedigo of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County.
In a prepared statement, Chief Garcia said, “While this police department does not take part in federal immigration enforcement, we also cannot obstruct lawful federal enforcement activity by alerting the media.”
Chief Garcia was the latest public official to weigh in on the thorny debate over how much, if any, information law enforcement agencies or elected leaders should share with the public about upcoming raids.
“It was irresponsible and reckless, and I think it’s a bad policy,” said Shane Patrick Connolly, vice chairman of the Santa Clara County Republican Party, commenting on the Oakland mayor’s decision to publicize the ICE raids.
Connolly also said Schaaf’s warning about the raids was shortsighted and put people’s lives at risk.
“I think it endangers the people who are out there doing their jobs to keep our community safe,” said Connolly.
“That’s just fear-mongering,” countered Pedigo. “That’s an intentional political tactic they’re using to divide our community.”
Mayor Sam Licarrdo who was in Washington, DC advocating for immigration reform Wednesday, said he strongly opposes the president and his policies on immigration.
But Liccardo acknowledged it’s a delicate balancing act for his police department. “I think every local leader is walking a tightrope trying to ensure that residents are well informed within the bounds of the law.”