There were conflicting reports late Sunday about planned immigration raids targeting major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
NPR wrote that the raids “failed to materialize.” Ruthie Epstein, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for immigration policy, told the radio network that “the ACLU has not heard reports of any raids today.”
The New York Times, however, noted that some federal raids did take place, but only resulted in “a handful of arrests.” CNN, meanwhile, quoted an unnamed “senior administration official” as saying the raids had begun.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were set to embark on raids across the U.S., seeking to apprehend an estimated 2,000 people.
Sweeps were expected in cities outside California as well, including Denver, Miami, New York, Chicago and Baltimore. New Orleans officials, according to CNN, announced that they would not conduct enforcement operations during the weekend in areas affected by Tropical Storm Barry.
San Diego was not considered a target, though on Friday officials announced a five-day sweep that had led to 20 arrests. They would not say if it was connected to ICE’s planned weekend actions.
Though President Donald Trump’s highly publicized raids led to heated debate, they didn’t appear to have occurred in as widespread a manner as anticipated.
The Southland’s immigrant communities had been bracing for planned mass arrests even as protests continued and local law enforcement agencies insisted they would not take part.
It’s possible the raids have simply been delayed or curtailed, not abandoned.
Some national news agencies reported Sunday that individual ICE field offices were given discretion to decide when sweeps would happen. In that vein, officials declined to reveal their strategies, indicating it could threaten the safety of their agents and jeopardize their operations.
Hundreds of people rallied against President Trump’s promised raids in downtown Los Angeles. Immigration activists also held a peaceful demonstration outside the Long Beach home of the region’s acting director for ICE, Thomas Giles, according to ABC7.
“We wanted to bring attention to this gentleman that we are against the crimes against humanity, the violation of international law that’s occurring at the border and the detention centers,” Maria Estrada told ABC7.
The raids originally were announced in a mid-June Twitter post by the president, but were postponed for two weeks. He said the delay was a chance for Congress to come up with comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
It is unclear where those efforts stand, but ICE announced late last week that the raids would start Sunday and continue indefinitely.
“They’re going to take criminals out and put them in prison or put them in prison in the countries they came from,” Trump told reporters Friday morning. “We’re focused on criminals as much as we can.”
News of the planned raids sparked outrage among immigrant advocates, who argued the move was an effort to spark unrest. They also contend that while raids may target criminals, other immigrants are often arrested during such actions.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore both insisted that city officers will not assist ICE agents. Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said he strongly opposed the raids.
A lawsuit filed Thursday in New York by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California and other groups alleges that due process requires the government to bring arrested families and children before a judge so they can have a day in court before facing deportation.
ICE spokesman Matt Bourke said the agency “prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Local officials criticized the planned raids as well.
Auxiliary Bishop John Dolan, of the San Diego Catholic Diocese, said immigration raids cause panic and disrupt targeted families. Enforcement should be conducted, he argued, in a “just and compassionate” manner.
– City News Service and staff reports