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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Immigrant Rights
Oakland's Communities Demand City Response On West Oakland ICE Raid
Scores of Oakland residents are expected to attend the Tuesday, November 14, meeting of the City's Public Safety Committee after a public hearing on the controversial August 16th raid was abruptly pulled off the agenda just a few days beforehand. The Public Safety committee meeting begins at 6pm.
(Message Left At San Francisco HSI/ICE Headquarters Saturday Night)
Committee chair Desley Brooks and At-Large representative Rebecca Kaplan, who sponsored July's council action to terminate Oakland's agreement with HSI/ICE, issued a joint press release on Friday strongly objecting to the removal by the Council's rules committee.
A Facebook event announcing the previously scheduled public hearing had 392 people interested in attending at the time of this release. Attendees are expected to speak to the matter during the meeting's second agenda item on scheduling, and item 4, the pulled agenda item.
On October 12th, the Council’s Rules Committee scheduled the item for a hearing at Public Safety, one week after the release of the results of an investigation of the August 16th raid by Oakland's Privacy Advisory Commission. The independent investigation concluded that several false statements were made by Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick about the incident and the Department's assistance to HSI/ICE constituted a violation of sanctuary city policy.
On November 6, twenty-six days after the Public Safety hearing was scheduled and after Chief Kirkpatrick had filed her written response to Public Safety, an internal affairs complaint was filed by eight Oakland residents regarding untruthfulness in the Police Chief's public statements about the ICE raid. The complaint included statements made by the police chief at a September 6 town hall that one person had been charged with a crime, and that there was no deportation matter at issue. As of today, no criminal charges have been filed. A deportation proceeding was initiated by ICE on August 16 for a 25-year old undocumented man from Guatemala named Santos De Leon, who spoke briefly with Univision TV on November 7. Since the filing of the complaint, five additional residents and two sanctuary organizations have joined on as signatories.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said in a Thursday public statement that "Oakland remained a proud sanctuary city and had not strayed from our Oakland values". The City's police department provided traffic and perimeter control to Homeland Security Investigations on August 16th. Assisting with civil immigration enforcement is prohibited by both the City's sanctuary city policy and the police department's internal policy on immigration.
ICE Acting Director Tom Homan told CNN in October that he had instructed Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative unit of ICE, to quintuple worksite enforcement actions in the upcoming year and that the agency would be arresting and detaining illegal alien workers without a criminal predicate.
Chief Kirkpatrick has maintained that the August 16 ICE operation is a criminal matter, and ongoing. By her lack of participation in the October 5 Privacy Advisory Commission discussion as was requested, and with the removal of the item from the Public Safety Committee’s agenda, the people of Oakland are prevented from having a policy discussion that clearly needs to occur.
Also on October 5, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law the California Values Act, providing some level of protection to California's undocumented communities throughout the state. Many Bay Area cities and counties have already put sanctuary protections in place, including Oakland in 1986. The Trump administration under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has aggressively confronted sanctuary cities in California and elsewhere and threatened them with financial sanctions and stepped-up immigration raids.
Advocates for immigrant rights have expressed great distress about the Trumpian rhetoric and the increasing rate of detentions and jailing of undocumented immigrants during the first 10 months of the Trump Adminstration.
On Saturday night, the HSI/ICE San Francisco headquarters looked a little different than usual.
Oakland Privacy is a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment.