Responding to a refusal by city leaders to declare the city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, more than a dozen people gathered outside City Hall on Monday night to denounce recent immigration raids, accusing federal officials of “terrorizing” immigrant communities and breaking up families.
A coalition of local immigrant rights groups, including the Orange County Alliance for Immigrants Rights and the Front Against the Raids, announced a planned program to create a hot line that will notify people where and when immigration raids will take place. The program would also coordinate a support system for the families of deportee targets.
“We want to have a more organized effort to counter these attacks,” said Jaime Conteras, a 20-year-old Filipino immigrant who now lives in Santa Ana. “We cannot let people trample on our rights.”
During five days of raids in June, 175 people in Orange County were arrested on suspected immigration violations. The raids arrested 27 suspected criminals, including a man wanted for murder and a convicted child molester. Santa Ana was one of the targeted cities.
“I call it terror because that is what a small child feels when armed men break into their homes and take away their parents,” said immigration activist Khang Tran, 28.
The raids and arrests were based on “solid leads and information,” said Lori Haley, spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Similar to programs being put together in Los Angeles County, organizers said, the hot line—in which volunteers will track details and update callers about ICE raids—will also direct relatives of detainees and