Kamala Harris answers questions from the media
Kamala Harris answers questions from the media after a visit to Navy facilities in Point Loma. File photo by Chris Jennewein

Local Rep. Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, joined Senator Kamala Harris, D-CA, in calling on federal immigration officials to respond to reports about their personnel’s role at the protests that have followed George Floyd’s death.

“We are writing to you today regarding recent reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are deploying resources in connection with demonstrations nationwide,” the lawmakers wrote. “As both CBP and ICE have acknowledged, the right to peaceful protest is a bedrock principle of our democracy.

“We write to you today to request information regarding ICE and CBP operations in connection with demonstrations, particularly in light of public reports that law enforcement have used force — including tear gas, spray chemical irritants, non-lethal bullets, and other forms of force.”

Harris and Vargas, led 98 Congressional colleagues in addressing CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan and ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence.

Juan Vargas with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Washington. Courtesy of the Congressman

The letter seeks “answers regarding what, precisely, your agencies will be doing and what policies and procedures are in place to protect the rights of individuals with whom you come into contact.”

“It is also vital to ensure that ICE and CBP are acting responsibly, reasonably, and within their respective authorities,” they added.

Former Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, signed on to the letter. Several members of California’s congressional delegation joined them, including Susan Davis, D-San Diego.

Floyd’s May 25 death at the hands of Minneapolis police has led to protests throughout the country, including the San Diego region. Four officers face charges in his death, which has sparked widespread debate about race and police brutality.

– Staff reports