Jan 6, 2016

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.


  1. It’s about time the police start taking action on these criminals… I don’t care what people say, THEY ARE CRIMINALS! They come here to OUR country and dirty our neighborhoods tax free. These illegal aliens living here is already a crime, and there are consequences. God bless these police for making my neighborhood right.

    anonymous | Jan 6th, 2016
  2. God god god first and we’ll see what will happen the day of tomorrow with u ok all people need an oportunity ok lets show our power on all the work lets help to this poor inmigrant peoples remember we are not on this world forever dont forget this god bless america forever thanks

    dale | Jan 7th, 2016
  3. Ok first of all bitch, we have a right to be here just as much as you do. Your kind of Caucasian likes to think that the Latino and Hispanic race are here to steal jobs and rape your children. Which is certainly not true. Your race think you’re all perfect but in reality, you’re just as bad as we are. You never know that there might be a WHITE RAPIST around the corner of your God forsaken house ready to take your child. Secondly your lazy asses say we take your jobs but we don’t. White people are just to lazy to get up and LOOK for one. Finally, I strongly feel that you, of all people, should know what it feels like to be an immigrant. Considering that you are part Irish, your ancestors were immigrants because they couldn’t handle a little shortage of potatoes. Frankly, I hope you rot in hell. You and your descendants.

    To: anonymous bitch | Jan 7th, 2016
  4. Hey why don’t you shut your mouth. These people are fleeing violence, no different from when these white people’s ancestors fled the UK for treatment with which they did not agree. The hypocrisy of this country is disgusting.

    anonymous 2 | Jan 7th, 2016
  5. Refugees are not illegal. They committed no crime. Most of them walked up to border patrol agents at the border and requested asylum. That is NOT illegal. They are trying to protect their family from violence in their home country. Wouldn’t you do the same for your family?

    Jim | Jan 7th, 2016

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.