OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — City officials in Oakland spoke for the first time Monday about ICE using Oakland International Airport to deport thousands of detainees.

In the span of eight years, ICE flew tens of thousands of detainees in and out of the airport, despite Oakland’s sanctuary city policy, as was reported by the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday.

When asked by KPIX 5 on Monday if officials were aware of the chartered flights moving deportees for ICE, Oakland City Council member Larry Reed publicly acknowledged they were not.

“Yes, it was news to everyone,” said Reid. “The airport is in my council district and I’ve never known those flights were occurring.”

According to new data, in a two-year time span, more than 4,000 Mexican nationals were flown out of the Oakland Airport to San Diego to be bused or walked across the border.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that ICE chartered nearly a thousand flights in and out of Oakland International Airport between 2010 and 2018, carrying nearly 43,000 detainees to be deported or transferred to other detention centers.

“Well, it’s the federal government that you deal with,” replied Reid when pressed on how the city remained unaware of the ICE actions. “They don’t have to report to us and let us know what they are doing.”

ICE said in a statement  that it made an internal operational decision to discontinue the use of charter flights out of Oakland in October of last year.

ICE also said that it coordinated flight operations on a case by case basis and it does not share specific logistic details on detainee transfers.


Juliette Goodrich