Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested two individuals and detained two others on March 7 in Capitola. The arrests occurred near 41st Street, according to a member of Your Allied Rapid Response (YARR) of Santa Cruz, a resistance group formed to support undocumented immigrants.
Agents took the individuals into custody on administration warrants, documents signed by ICE agents that appoint people for possible arrest and deportation proceedings. Those who were detained were later released.
The names of the individuals were not disclosed to the public or to the Capitola Police Department (CPD), according to Sgt. Andrew Dally. It is also unknown if all four people had criminal records or if they were detained only because of their suspected immigration status.
ICE informed the CPD early Wednesday morning it would be conducting an administrative warrant raid. Arrests were made between 4:15 and about 7:15 a.m. the same day. However, since CPD’s policy prohibits providing assistance for civil administration warrants, they sometimes do not assist in the arrests of these individuals.
The arrests come amid nationwide immigration debates as the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit March 6 against California over its sanctuary status. Recent sanctuary state laws provide protections for undocumented immigrants by obstructing local law enforcement from asking about a person’s immigration status or detaining people on behalf of federal immigration agents, among other measures.
After the laws were passed, ICE acting director Thomas Homan said ICE will tremendously increase their enforcement in California.
Santa Cruz County’s status as a “sanctuary county” allows local law enforcement to abstain from automatically reporting people suspected of illegal immigration to ICE agencies. ICE is only notified when the suspected undocumented individual commits a serious offense.
YARR is having a legal observation training on March 19 at Peace United Church in response to recent ICE activity, according to Ernestina Saldaña, a YARR and Sanctuary Santa Cruz organizer. Legal Observation trainings entail learning how to effectively document law enforcement activities in order to fight deportation and defend people’s rights.