Several community members have written into the Richmond Standard wondering whether a federal effort to round up certain undocumented immigrants for deportation has led to operations in West County cities including Richmond and San Pablo.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced (statement here) it launched operations to deport adults and their children, mostly from Central America, who arrived since the border surge of 2014 but then failed to win court asylum, according to the New York Times.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said operations over the weekend led to the detaining of 121 individuals primarily from Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.
Since the announcement of the federal enforcement efforts, we have received several reports from West County residents saying they’ve heard rumors about local raids.
“Friends told me they saw inmigración arresting people at stores,” one reader wrote in.
Another said, “Do you guys know anything about immigration being around the Richmond/San Pablo area? Not sure if it’s true or not.”
We’re still trying to find out if the reports we’ve received are valid, and we haven’t confirmed whether the federal operations include any activity locally. Check back for updates.
A separate New York Times story also reported on rumors about related raids in New York City. While the newspaper said it found its reports to be false, there is little doubt folks in immigrant communities are concerned over the federal government’s actions. The raids have some prominent Democrats upset with President Obama, according to this Politico report.
Advocates for the immigrants say the undocumented people in question were women and children fleeing violence in Central America.
Johnson said the deportations “should come as no surprise.”
“I have said publicly for months that individuals who constitute enforcement priorities, including families and unaccompanied children, will be removed,” Johnson said. “The focus of this weekend’s operations were adults and their children who were apprehended after May 1, 2014 crossing the southern border illegally, have been issued final orders of removal by an immigration court, and have exhausted appropriate legal remedies, and have no outstanding appeal or claim for asylum or other humanitarian relief under our laws.”
Johnson also stated, “As I have said repeatedly, our borders are not open to illegal migration; if you come here illegally, we will send you back consistent with our laws and values.”
The above photo is courtesy of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and does not depict the operation discussed in this story.
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