SACRAMENTO (CN) – California lawmakers on Monday demanded more information from federal immigration officials about a series of February deportation raids that fueled “confusion and fear” in the Golden State, home to an estimated 10 million immigrants.
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon say they’ve received little information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding deportation actions in California between Feb. 1 and Feb. 20.
The FOIA from the legislative leaders, who represent parts of Los Angeles County, seeks clarification about ICE policies on deportation activities near California schools, hospitals, courts and churches.
They also ask for statistics from the recent raids, including the number of people detained and whether the activities were planned before Donald Trump took office.
“The lack of transparency by ICE is creating havoc and confusion in communities across the state and that has to change,” De Leon said in a statement. “It’s time for ICE to come clean on what they’re doing and how they intend to operate going forward.”
The FOIA request on California Legislature letterhead comes on the heels of claims by the Santa Cruz Police Department that ICE officials lied about a February raid. Police Chief Keith Vogel said ICE officials told him the raid would strictly target suspected gang members, but others were detained and removed simply because of their immigration status.
“This has violated the trust of our community and we cannot tell you how disappointed we are by the betrayal of the DHS,” Vogel said.
In their Feb. 27 FOIA request, De Leon and Rendon also seek details about Trump’s revised executive order on immigration. They ask asks for reports, spreadsheets, emails and other records related to California ICE activities and Trump’s travel ban.
“To set the community’s fear to rest, much greater clarity is needed about what ICE’s enforcement policies, procedures and priorities will be going forward,” the letter states.
The Democratic leaders have introduced several proposals since December to provide legal services and other taxpayer-funded assistance to undocumented immigrants.
Senate Bill 54 would restrict state and local law enforcement agencies’ cooperation with ICE raids and Senate Bill 6 would create legal assistance for people facing deportation. Both bills cleared their first Senate committee and have been sent to an appropriations committee.
In a fiery December speech, Rendon stated that “white nationalists and anti-Semites have no business working in the White House,” and promised to continue fighting on behalf of California’s immigrants.
California, the state with the nation’s largest economy, also is home to more immigrants than any other state.