San Jose’s police chief and mayor spoke to community members Sunday about fears over potential federal immigration sweeps on undocumented residents.
It came after President Donald Trump called off mass immigration raids that were planned for Sunday, but the event outside Sacred Heart Church had been scheduled well ahead of the president’s recent tweets about mass deportation.
The idea was to reach out to the community and reassure them about where police stand.
After morning Mass ended Sunday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and police Chief Eddie Garcia addressed parishioners in Spanish.
"Our message has been that we are here to protect our otherwise law-abiding citizens documented or not in the city of San Jose, but that we’re not here, or should we be, shielding violent or serious criminals," Garcia said.
Members of the police union served food but not in uniform. The outreach was significant to some.
"I think this is very important for us, especially," one woman said. "We don’t have a voice; we hear so many things, rumors."
The woman, who did not want to be identified, says there is tension in her community.
"After this president came, all the immigrant community, we were very scared," she said.
Trump delayed the mass deportation expected Sunday, but Liccardo says it’s important to reach out.
"We’re one nation, and we’re one city, and we will do whatever we can to support them regardless of their immigration status," the mayor said.
On Sunday, the president tweeted, "I want to give Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to asylum and loopholes. This will fix the southern border. Together with the help that Mexico is now giving us. Probably won’t happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big deportation begins."