Perata, Lee peeved by immigration enforcement

Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were on the move in the East Bay earlier today. From our story:

OAKLAND — Ongoing enforcement tactics by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel caused panic to erupt at several East Bay school districts Tuesday, although ICE officials said that many of the rumors that swirled among parents and school staff were false or overblown.

“This whole experience is so terrifying that it really brought out the greatest fear in everybody,” said Mark Coplan, a spokesman for the Berkeley Unified School District, where the schools superintendent issued a recorded phone message to parents Tuesday promising that he “will not allow any child to be taken away from the school.”

Some of the rumors — for example, that Berkeley middle school students were being carted off in vans — turned out to be false. But others — for example, that ICE agents were conducting surveillance near an East Oakland elementary school — were true and prompted Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and others to rally outside the school in protest.

“We were not at a school,” ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said. “We were at residences. There may be a situation where a residence is near to a school.”

Local elected officials are seriously peeved.

“I find today’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement presence at our schools reprehensible. The Bush Administration espouses the virtues of No Child Left Behind and yet they provide no funding. If the President wants to help our nation’s children he should send funding — not federal agents to our schools,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland. “It is clear that ICE raids jeopardize the stability of our communities and families. There should be an immediate freeze on ICE raids directed at school children while legislation aiming to fix immigration is considered.”

And Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, said she’s “deeply troubled and concerned about the tactics employed by ICE. Conducting an operation of this nature in Oakland is a direct violation of the spirit of the city’s sanctuary resolution.”

“Although ICE officials assured my district office that they did not physically enter public school property, the presence of the ICE van near or parked in front of the Esperanza Academy and Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy is of grave concern to me,” Lee said. “In an effort to address the controversial tactics that have been used by ICE, my district office has been in contact with them to convey my concerns. I will be working with my colleagues to oppose the use of this troubling approach, and I am personally committed to reviewing any ICE policies that may create a culture of fear and intimidation, especially near a school or place of worship.

“To conduct such an operation near or around a public school campus is a violation of the sanctity of the education process, and is intentionally meant to intimidate those who live in the community,” Lee continued. “I do not support these intimidation policies and I am planning a district outreach event in the future to hear directly from my constituents about their experiences with agency officials.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • DinTN

    Website coming soon: http://www.baldwin2008.com/

    “We will close our borders and ports. Illegal immigration STOPS the day we take the White House!
    We will not provide amnesty to anyone. There will be no welfare for illegal immigrants! We will end birthright citizenship! There will be no more anchor babies!”

    “It is absolutely ludicrous to say we are fighting a war on terror half way around the world when we refuse to secure our borders and ports. If I were President, I would immediately seal our borders. I would also see to it that employers in America who knowingly hire illegal aliens are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In plain language: any employer who consciously hires illegal aliens would go to jail. They would not pass Go; they would not collect $200; they would go straight to jail.

  • TLB

    Whatever IBA does, they shouldn’t confront Perata et al about their support for illegal activity and endeavor to find out why they do what they do. Do not follow the money and/or political power. Transcription is hard enough!

  • robert

    This is part of the reason these people have such a low approval rating. These moronic politicians are old and out of touch with the rest of society.

    Since they have the voting disticts manipulated to ensure zero competition, it’s great we have term limits. At least this way we stand a chance to possibly have competent people elected vs these long term idiots

  • David

    The raids are long overdue, there needs to be alot more.

    Illegal immigration is a bigger problem for this country than Iraq.

    We are being invaded and bankrupted by illegals from mexico and it has to stop. No legalization, path to citizenship or Amnesty, simply deportation. Crime should not be rewarded.

  • sleepneat

    Why are the Democrats whining? Don’t they wish our laws to be enforced? Or is it the fact that ICE is deporting the Dems voting base? Can’t have it both ways, and drop the pitiful “scaring children” crap, if the Illegals weren’t here in the first place, they wouldn’t have a reason to be scared!!

    It’s really simple….yes?

  • Cali Girl

    What traitorous legislators we have in our midst. It’s laughable that Barbara Flea says “conducting an operation of this nature in Oakland is a direct violation of the spirit of the city’s sanctuary resolution”. Honestly, does she really think that ICE or Homeland Security would honor a sanctuary policy just because some flaming liberal legislators want it that way? Cry me a Rio Grande river! Each and every ICE enforcement “raid” is 1) targeting individuals who have had their day in court and have ignored a court order, 2) have committed one or more CRIMINAL acts such as fraud, identity theft, sexual assault or molestation or drunk driving, 3) are present here in violation of our federal immigration law. While I feel for the children’s situation, it is precisely their parents or family members who placed them in this situation. It is the function of government to enforce all of our laws. I support ICE 100%.