BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – The threat of another round of ICE raids set to begin Sunday has put some people in the Bay Area on edge.
Saturday afternoon hundreds of people rallied at Berkeley’s Civic Center Park just beyond the steps of City Hall, where the mayor condemned the raids and reaffirmed Berkeley’s status as a sanctuary city.
“If ICE comes into our community, we will show up in the streets, we will protest, we will fight for the rights of our immigrant brothers and sisters here in our community,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín.
Saturday’s rally was originally to protest the conditions at detention facilities, but the city-sponsored event took on even more meaning with the Trump administration’s announcement of Sunday’s ICE raids.
“It’s important that we come together as a community, and that we not only tell our undocumented community that we are here to stand with them, but also that we are here to stand up and speak out for the basic human rights of all people,” says Mayor Arreguín.
Amid the music and songs, speakers shared their own immigration stories, including City Auditor Jenny Wong.
“That could have been me. We could have been rounded up and placed in detention centers,” said Wong.
Wong said she, her parents and her two sisters came to the United States from Taiwan when she was 6 years old. Her family became U.S. citizens in 1986.
“That’s what I experienced as a child – is a government that really showed compassion for immigrants and now we don’t have that compassion,” said Wong.
Those attending Saturday’s rally say they understand how the threats of deportation and detention impact the undocumented community.
“As a teacher, I’ve worked with so many immigrant families and I see the struggle and the fear over the years, and so this really hit close to home,” said Regina Santa Cruz.
“They’re trying to work with the people and trying to make sure that everyone is comfortable and isn’t discriminated against. It’s just the whole Berkeley philosophy,” says Berkeley resident Jack Laws.
Mayor Arreguín said he is not aware of any ICE activity happening in the city on Sunday, but has already instructed all city offices, including the police department, not to assist with immigration enforcement actions.