Local officials in Santa Cruz, California didn’t hide their disdain towards the Department of Homeland Security after a gang bust turned into an immigration raid once the federal government got involved.
Santa Cruz police and DHS jointly carried out the raid that they said targeted the MS-13 gang on Feb. 13. They arrested 10 people for suspected ties to the gang.
But DHS then detained all 10 people for immigration violations, the police said, even though police had been assured that the raid had nothing to do with immigration, Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel said in a news conference Thursday. The detained were all eventually released.
“This has violated the trust of our community, and we cannot tell you how disappointed we are by the betrayal of the Department of Homeland Security,” Vogel said. “As a result of this betrayal of trust we will be taking a long and hard look about whether we will cooperate with this federal agency in the future.”
Yet DHS said it had warned the police department that detention was a possibility all along.
“The chief acknowledged this possibility and it was agreed that no foreign nationals would enter the Santa Cruz Police Department’s facility or their police vehicles,” James Schwab, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement.
This type of detention could be a sign of things to come.
DHS released a set of memos earlier this week laying out how President Donald Trump’s administration would approach the question of undocumented immigrants. It has loosened the criteria for enforcement, meaning that pretty much any undocumented person can now be deported. The focus of deportations during the administration of former President Barack Obama had exclusively been limited to those with criminal records.
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