Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday during
a task force meeting in March discussing
U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agents arrested two undocumented immigrants in Hayward last Thursday, but the city says, based on its policies, it did not participate in the action. The Hayward Police Department, however, had been notified two days prior, on Tuesday, of ICE’s intention to check-up on some individuals currently being monitored by GPS the city said on Monday.
The two individuals arrested at the Rainbow Apartments on Harris Road were not the intended targets of ICE agents, according to the San Jose Mercury News, but two others were taken into custody, both undocumented immigrants from Mexico, who have lived and worked in the U.S. for the past 10 years.
A spokesperson for ICE told the newspaper that both had previously committed criminal offenses and one had twice been deported to Mexico.
Hayward officials say they have no information on the arrests and a request for further information from ICE has already been made.
But the optics of the arrests, which according to the Mercury News, also included ICE agents knocking on the doors at the complex for two hours last Thursday and yelling out the names of the men whom they originally sought, is the type of incident that has already put many in the community on edge for months.
There was also a suggestion by the families of those arrested that the men were racially-profiled by ICE. According to the report, both were trailed by agents while they drove to work early Thursday morning in an effort to discern whether they were the men ICE were seeking. After the men produced identification issued by the Mexican government, they were arrested, according to the families.
Fears of ICE agents conducting raids in Hayward were a common refrain during the recent debate last June over the city declaring a sanctuary city. Numerous public officials and Police Chief Mark Koller had stressed that the designation would do little to stop federal agents from conducting investigations or raids in the city. But they also assured the city and police department’s existing policy prohibits its employees from seeking information regarding someone’s immigration status.
“No HPD officer or Hayward city employee may assist federal officials in the enforcement of U.S immigration laws. We are committed to equal treatment of all of our residents regardless of immigration status,” the city said in a statement Monday morning.
Hayward officials called news of the arrests by ICE “concerning because of the potential impact on the trust our officers and local government seek to maintain with all members of our community.”
There have been several reports in recent months that suggest President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and ICE’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants has not only created immense fear in immigrant communities, but is also resulting in a sharp decrease in reports of alleged crimes in these communities. The fear being, undocumented immigrants who witness crimes are dissuaded with helping law enforcement for fear of also being arrested and potentially deported.