ICE won't confirm reported California arrests; says sanctuary cities 'not immune'

Newell: Shame on the Mayor of Oakland

"ICE is trying to distract people from their racist messages", said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, firing her latest salvo at federal immigration officials.

"Immigrant communities are an integral part of our culture and our society, and they make up the heart and soul of our city", she added.

ICE did not confirm the Atwater arrests of Sunday morning, but said in a statement more than 150 people who violated federal immigration laws have been arrested in Northern California since Sunday.

ICE agents went to the Bronx Criminal Courthouse a few weeks ago to arrest Aboubacar Dembele, following the African immigrant's court hearing to contest an assault charge.

Schaaf said in a statement Saturday night that she had received confidential tips from "credible sources" who told her ICE was gearing up for a Bay Area operation starting as soon as the next day.

KTVU asked Schaaf's office who she was referencing and we were told Schaaf talked with community leaders of immigrant groups by phone before tipped off the public.

The political battle over sanctuary cities has exploded into a public feud between the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, California.

ICE also directed its criticism at San Francisco and Oakland, which are sanctuary cities - meaning local jurisdictions that have some policy of non-cooperation or coordination with federal immigration authorities.

"I've been doing this for 34 years and this is a whole new low - to intentionally warn criminals that law enforcement is coming". A similar operation was conducted in Los Angeles earlier in February. It would be stronger if the mayor had released addresses of the raids or advocated for people to resist ICE, they said.

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But the fact remains, ICE is generally no longer extending courtesies, and "kind hearted" discretion, by perpetually delaying detainments and deportations.

California became a sanctuary state January 1, barring police in most cases from asking people about their immigration status.

When Schaaf was asked about that criminal element Wednesday afternoon, the mayor replied, "They said almost half".

Homan, in announcing the arrests late Tuesday, renewed his warning that California's limits on cooperating with ICE in local jails will lead to a bigger presence of immigration agents on the streets. In a press statement last Tuesday, Schaaf defended her decision by saying that, "It was my intention that one mother, or one father, would use the information to help keep their family together", the mayor said.

Sacramento is also a sanctuary city that has set aside money to fund legal and outreach services for immigrants.

Joe Murolo - an employee at the courthouse clerk's office - and other courthouse employees said they were not aware of any ICE agents entering the courthouse to arrest undocumented immigrants. But securing a conviction in the overwhelmingly liberal Bay Area would be more hard, he said.

He has warned that ICE officers will inevitably come across other undocumented immigrants in the course of targeted actions and make what are known as collateral arrests.

"We're here to stand for justice and due process for all people", said Anand Singh, president of Unite Here! While the feds were able to nab around 150 people - many of whom had been identified as public safety threats - more than 800 remaining public safety threats remain at large thanks to Mayor Schaaf.

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