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ICE Director: Arrests Coming To California Neighborhoods, Workplaces

Gregory Bull / AP

In this March 30, 2012 photo, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent waits with other agents outside of the home of a suspect as part of a nationwide immigration sweep in San Diego.

Gregory Bull / AP

The nation’s top immigration enforcement official is vowing arrests in California neighborhoods and at work sites now that Gov. Jerry Brown has signed the so-called “sanctuary state” bill.

In a blistering Friday afternoon statement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Tom Homan says California’s new law “will undermine public safety and hinder ICE from performing its federally mandated mission.”

Homan adds that his agents will now be forced to conduct “at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests.” And he says ICE will likely need to detain Californians out of state, far from their families.

That prompted a terse response from the bill’s author, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). He blasted what he termed “heavy-handed threats” and called the statement inaccurate, saying it “exemplifies the fearmongering and lies that guide this administration.”

The governor's office suggested that ICE has already conducted “at-large“ arrests well before SB 54's signing. It also referred back to Brown's signing statement, in which he laid out what the bill does -- and does not -- do.

“This bill does not prevent or prohibit Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security from doing their own work in any way,“ Brown wrote.

“Moreover,“ he went on, “the bill does not prohibit sheriffs from granting immigration authorities access to California jails to conduct routine interviews, nor does it prevent cooperation in deportation proceedings for anyone in state prison or for those in local jails for any of the hundreds of serious offenses listed in the TRUST Act,“ a bill the governor signed in 2013 that lists crimes eligible for cooperation between California law enforcement and federal authorities.

Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio 

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