Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerted Bay Area residents Saturday night of possible ICE operations starting "as soon as within the next 24 hours."
In a press release, Mayor Schaaf encouraged all undocumented residents to consult immigration resources after learning from many credible sources that ICE is preparing to conduct an operation in the Bay Area.
Mayor Schaaf explained she was sharing the information publicly “not to panic residents but to protect them.”
Although ICE has used activity rumors in the past as a fear tactic, Mayor Schaaf continued to explain that she felt it was her duty to give families a fair warning of a possible threat.
“My priority is for the well-being and safety of all residents — particularly our most vulnerable — and I know that Oakland is safer when we share information, encourage community awareness, and care for our neighbors,” said Mayor Schaaf in the press release.
The warning from Mayor Schaaf comes as ICE agents have stepped up their enforcement this year. Earlier this month, ICE agents went after 77 businesses in Northern California and in January agents targeted nearly a hundred 7-11 stores across the nation, including two in Santa Clara.
Mayor Schaaf said she does not have any information on the specific places where immigration agents may conduct their operations.
Immigration attorney Patricia Castorena says anyone targeted by ICE officials should not open the door, remain silent, contact an attorney and avoid signing anything until speaking with an immigration attorney.
She also says it's important that parents put in writing who they want to care for their children should they be detained.
"The children should go with a family or neighbor and you need to have a safety plan in effect," said Castorena.
Many school districts throughout the Bay Area already have strict protocols in place to protect students and their families and Oakland police are prohibited from participating in any ICE activities.
Residents affected can consult Centro Legal de La Raza for more information on their legal rights to gain a better understanding of the options available in the event that they face detention or need legal representation.