ICE Enforcement Raids Cause Serious Concerns
SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Federal agents arrested 359 people during a two-week crackdown on undocumented immigrants in San Diego County that began March 20. The raids came as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Return to Sender,” a nationwide campaign to arrest and deport undocumented individuals.
The raids ended with the detention and deportation of hundreds of immigrants, and created an environment of fear and distrust in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations. The raids have also raised questions of racial profiling, which has been a prevalent concern of many communities throughout the North County and beyond.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 62 of the fugitives for whom they had arrest warrants. While serving those warrants, ICE officers detained 297 other immigrants. Of the 297 that were arrested, 270 had been deported or agreed to leave without an immigration judge’s order.
These arrests raise serious questions of illegal search and seizure. Many of those detained were detected by agents who did not have warrants for their arrest. David Blair-Loy, ACLU Legal Director said, “We are extremely concerned that ICE agents have overstepped their legitimate authority by sweeping far beyond the proper scope of executing an arrest warrant.”
There are also grave concerns of parents being separated from their U.S.-born children or the fact that many families will be losing their main source of income due to these arrests.
The founder of the Vista-based group Coalition for Peace, Justice and Dignity, Tina Jillings, said the operation singles out the Latino community by the government, and has created an environment of fear, where even walking down the street raises fears of being questioned by police or immigration officials.