Immigration enforcement officers will not detain undocumented residents in areas affected by the fires in Northern California, and they'll stay clear of evacuation centers, shelters and food banks, according to the San Francisco field office for Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE.
"Our thoughts remain with those impacted by this tragedy," said James Schwab, a spokesman for ICE. “In consideration of these distressing circumstances, ICE will continue to suspend routine immigration enforcement operations, except in the event of a serious criminal presenting a public safety threat."
Schwab said the agency had stopped immigration-related operations and stings "as soon as it became apparent that this was a large emergency."
In recent days, sheriffs in Sonoma and Marin counties as well as other officials and representatives have tried to reassure undocumented evacuees that they should not be afraid to seek assistance at shelters. In the counties hard hit by the wildfires -- Sonoma and Napa -- Latinos make up about one-third of the population.
"We don’t have any kind of immigration people here," said Roy Pitts with the Red Cross, who was managing a shelter this week at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa. "Our job is to shelter and feed them, and everyone is welcome no matter what. We want everyone to feel safe here."