SEARAC Condemns Operation Rise and ICE Arrests in California

For immediate release
October 9, 2020
Media contact:
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
(202) 601-2970
Sacramento, CA – On Oct. 7, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that 128 arrests were made in three California cities after a week-long operation targeting jurisdictions that uphold the state’s sanctuary policies. California’s sanctuary laws limit cooperation between law enforcement agencies and ICE, and they have prompted major, politically motivated ICE operations just weeks before the presidential election. Sheriff’s departments in California have a long history of collaboration with ICE, including allowing ICE officers access to jails to question those imprisoned and publicly releasing the names and release dates of inmates who have served their time in order for ICE to make an arrest.
Most of the 128 arrests were community members with old criminal convictions or simply pending charges. These arrests have a profound impact on the targets and their families and put community members at severe health risks, as unsanitary and inhumane ICE detention facilities continue to foster the spread of COVID-19 and more recently, reports of forced sterilization of immigrant women and hysterectomies without consentIn a criminal legal system that disproportionately targets communities of color in policing, incarceration, and immigration detention, many immigrant and refugee families continue to live their lives in fear of incarceration trauma, health risks, deportation, and family separation.
In the United States, Southeast Asian American (SEAA) communities are 3 to 4 times more likely to be deported for past convictions than any other immigrant group. Eighty percent of the more than 17,000 SEAA deportation orders are linked to old criminal records. Nearly 1 million SEAAs live in California, many of whom came from refugee and immigrant families that fled war, genocide, and persecution, holding intergenerational trauma and resettling into areas of concentrated poverty that led to criminalization. SEAA and other immigrant communities continue to be deeply impacted by the prison-to-deportation pipeline that fails to support community safety and creates adverse socio-economic and health outcomes.
“It is wrong for ICE to be able to come into a community, create panic and chaos, and break up families, especially for political gain during a worldwide pandemic. Gov. Newsom must stand up to the harmful and inhumane immigration policies of the Trump Administration and protect the rights, health, and safety of our communities. He has a responsibility to ensure that vulnerable communities are treated with dignity and respect and protected from detrimental health and safety risks during this time,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, acting executive director of SEARAC.
“We call on Gov. Newsom to halt all ICE transfers from California prisons and jails, and to stop deportations by granting pardons and commutations to immigrants with old criminal convictions who have served their time. The governor can demonstrate his commitment to criminal justice reform and the human rights of criminalized communities through clemency and by leading with mercy and compassion. We urge Gov. Newsom to use his power and exercise responsible leadership to protect California communities.”