San Francisco Mayor London Breed on July 12 affirmed the city’s commitment to being a “sanctuary city” amid rumors of an impending raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Several Bay Area leaders and community organizations have spoken out against the raids, which were reportedly set to happen throughout several U.S. cities this past weekend.
Speaking at a joint news conference with several local organizations and city departments, Breed said, “We have been and we’ll continue to be a ‘sanctuary city,’ despite what we know are challenges we continue to face from this administration in the White House.”
According to Breed, the city’s Police Department will also remain committed to not cooperating with the ICE raids, which seek to detain undocumented immigrants for deportation.
“Our city is committed to not dedicating any financial resources to be cooperating with ICE. We will support and stand by our immigrant community and continue to invest and provide resources to help,” she said.
“It’s really sad that we are in this state of affairs. We have people with families, and children in particular, who are living in fear of going to work, going to school, going about their daily lives and as we continue to try and address this particular issue, we want to make sure that people understand not only what we’re doing as a city, but just information and place they can and numbers they can call for help and support,” she said.
Breed also reminded immigrants, “If you are arrested, you have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. Remember, immigration agents generally need a judicial warrant to enter your home.”
“We are all unfortunately here because Donald Trump has decided to continue to wage war against our immigrant communities, a war that is immoral, unjust, racist and xenophobic, for his political gain with the announcement of raids that are meant deliberately to sow fear in our immigrant communities,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco.
Chiu added that thanks to several state laws passed since Trump’s presidential election, including a declaration to make California a “sanctuary state,” “State law enforcement will not be cooperating with ICE.”
Additionally, he said, according to state laws, school employees in California are barred from cooperating with ICE. Also, protections against landlords and employers who cooperate with ICE have also been passed into state law, he said.
According to Marisela Esparza of the San Francisco Rapid Response Hotline and the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network, her organization has seen a recent spike of people in the Bay Area reporting family members being detained by ICE.
“We have been monitoring a recent wave of increasing arrests. We have confirmed arrests in Contra Costa, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties. We cannot say for sure that this is because of a raid or an ICE operation, because at this moment the arrests that we received, we know are not the full count of arrests happening in the community,” she said.
With these recent raids, she said, ICE has stopped entering people’s homes and businesses and begun employing new tactics.
“Today, ICE’s operations are a lot more covert. They conduct extensive surveillance, and wait outside people’s homes and wait for them to come out or let people open the door, and let them come inside and then conduct collateral arrests,” she said.
“The best way to combat what is happening right now is to be prepared with power and not panic. The campaign and tactics that ICE is using is a campaign of terror, where they’re trying to make sure that the community isolates itself,” she said.
Currently, she said her organization has a contingency of dozens of lawyers who are willing to travel to detention centers across the state to provide legal representation.
Those wishing to report raids can call the S.F. Rapid Response Hotline at 415-200-1548. For information about legal help, go to immigrants.sfgov.org or call the city’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs at 415-581-2360.
ICE was not immediately available for comment.