SoCal Immigration Raids Spur Protests, Questions From Lawmakers

A “routine” immigration sweep across three Southern California counties sparked protests in Downtown L.A. Thursday, demonstrating the degree to which California’s immigrant and immigrant advocacy communities remain on edge.

The raids ensnared more than 160 undocumented individuals, most of them said to be criminals. Immigration and Customs Enforcement insists it was nothing new. Indeed, 244 people were detained in a similar raid in Southern California two years ago.

Lawmakers remain skeptical.

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Van Nuys) called the raids "outrageous.”

"This is just one more action by this administration that hurts our communities and our economy," he wrote in a statement. "I will not sit quietly by while they seek to harm the people of my district."

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León called on federal officials to provide information on the number of women, men, and children who were detained, as well as the reasons for their detention. Mayor Eric Garcetti also weighed in, saying ICE needed to be more transparent about its actions.

Although officials claim it was planned before President Trump’s executive orders on immigration, it is one of a half dozen similar raids across the country. It also coincides with the controversial deportation of a woman in Arizona under Trump’s new directive. The case has led to outrage on the part of immigrant advocacy groups, who claim ICE officials are no longer prioritizing criminals but also wives, mothers, and longtime residents for deportation.

The Arizona woman, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, has lived in the U.S. for 22 years and has two children here. However, she also has a history of felony impersonation. Her court-issued removal order was finalized in 2013, according to ICE officials.