Updated 12:05 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27
Immigration attorneys say at least 23 people have been detained in Northern California this week in what appears to be a widespread federal enforcement operation targeting the region.
The arrests come after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf warned about an imminent U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation in the Bay Area in a statement released Saturday evening, but it is unclear if the two are connected.
"Deportation officers with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) conduct targeted enforcement operations on a daily basis in Northern California and across the nation," said ICE spokesman James Schwab in a statement. "While the vast majority of cities in America do cooperate with ICE, others force ICE to assign additional resources to conduct at-large arrests in the community, putting officers, the general public and the aliens at greater risk and increasing the incidence of collateral arrests. Sanctuary cities and states are not immune from federal law."
Hamid Yazdan Panah, an attorney with the Northern California Rapid Response Network and the San Francisco Bar Association, said hotlines organized by immigration activists across the Bay Area have seen a spike in calls from worried immigrants and advocates wanting to help.
On Sunday, Schaaf elaborated on her decision to warn immigrant communities about the possibly pending actions, but didn't provide details about how she found out about them.