SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Rumors and fear of Bay Area ICE raids on Sunday appeared to be unfounded. Advocacy groups said they’ve been on high alert throughout the day, but so far, there have been no confirmed reports of any ICE activity.
After the American Civil Liberties Union took the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to federal court in Northern California, the impact of the planned raids was subdued on Sunday, an immigrants’ rights attorney said.
“The solidarity expressed within our communities and the work being done by organizers, activists and attorneys, serves as a major deterrent to those types of operations,” said Hamid Yazdan Panah with the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice.
Activists have been preparing for the rumored raids by staffing extra volunteers at hotlines where people could report ICE activity the phones were quiet Sunday.
The sweep was supposed to start early Sunday morning, with officials detaining up to 2,000 undocumented immigrants on final deportation orders living in specifically targeted cities across the country, including the Bay Area.
Immigrant rights activists say even though the raids never materialized, the preparation did mobilize the community.
“Here in the Bay Area, there’s been a tremendous amount of support and solidarity and the community has come together to protect each other and to stand up and fight as one community against these types of attacks,” said Panah.
Activists also said many people stayed home behind closed doors on Sunday, despite the lack of reports of ICE activity. Roberto Hernandez of the group “A Day Without An Immigrant” coalition said the Mission District was especially quiet.
“If you look down in this neighborhood here in the Mission, the streets were empty. People weren’t going to church, they weren’t shopping, they weren’t going to the movies. Business owners were complaining that they were having to show up to work on a Sunday because they’re short of employees,” said Hernandez.
ICE released a statement about the rumored raids saying, “The agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security.”
Advocates say it is possible there were people detained Sunday, but their organizations just didn’t heard about it. They said it’s also possible some type of enforcement operation could happen next week.
On Saturday, an emergency temporary restraining order was filed by the ACLU on behalf of Pangea Legal Services, a Bay Area nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrants, particularly related to deportation defense.
The decision issued by a federal judge stated that “a noncitizen will not be removed unless and until a reasonable opportunity to talk with an attorney has been provided.” The court also put ICE on notice.
“As of 1:30 p.m., no verified ICE activity has been reported through our hotlines, attorney pro-bono list, ICE field offices or anywhere else in the community that we have been monitoring very closely,” wrote Pangea Legal Services in a Twitter announcement on Sunday afternoon.
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Pangea attorney Edwin Carmona-Cruz said Sunday he believes that the preparedness of the communities, along with the federal court notice, worked to deter ICE from carrying out operations in the Bay Area.
“Anywhere ICE is present, we will be ready to respond,” Carmona-Cruz said.
The nonprofit is prepared to take ICE back to federal court if its agents fail to provide access to counsel during any planned raids, he added.
Rapid response networks remain available for detained individuals 24 hours everyday.
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