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Indybay Feature
Up against ICE(aka la migra)
by repost from SFBG
Wednesday May 19th, 2004 2:09 AM
The following is an editorial that appears in this weeks, May 19th, edition of the SF Bay Guardian.
EARLY IN THE morning May 6, a posse of agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement descended on the Hotel Sunrise, at 15th and Valencia Streets. As Camille T. Taiara reports, the agents rounded up seven Mexicans and two Indians they claimed were in the country illegally. The Mexicans have all been deported, and one of the Indians is in ICE detention, and nobody knows where the other one is.

It's impossible to figure out exactly what ICE was doing (or whether there were other government agencies involved) – ICE in 2004 has become as secretive as the Central Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency. It seems likely that the Indians were the target of the raid, since people from the Middle East and Central Asia have been subject to the worst ICE harassment. Perhaps there was some other federal crime involved. Either way, most of the people who wound up being deported were probably just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's conceivable this unusual raid (one of only two in the city in the past year) was simply a crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

But the simple fact is, this sort of thing isn't supposed to happen in San Francisco. The city has a formal policy as an ICE raid-free town. It's a sanctuary city for immigrants, and by law, city law-enforcement authorities aren't supposed to cooperate with ICE on any efforts to deport people whose sole crime is living here without the proper paperwork.

The city can't stop federal agents from conducting raids, but the Board of Supervisors needs to conduct a public inquiry to make sure that no city resources were used in the raid – that the local cops didn't participate in any way, and that local law enforcement continues to act with the maximum possible level of noncooperation with ICE.

And the supervisors should ask Rep. Nancy Pelosi to ask a few questions of her own. Why was ICE suddenly doing a sweeping raid in the Mission District? And doesn't the federal agency have some responsibility to tell the public what the raid was about?
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