SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a dispute between local police and federal immigration officials in a California city (all times local):
Federal immigration officials are firmly denying that they misled a local police force in California in a raid targeting an El Salvador-based gang.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel had said Thursday that Department of Homeland Security officials lied when they assured them that a Feb. 13 joint operation in the region would not include immigration-related arrests. Police say they later learned that 11 people had been detained for being in the country illegally.
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman James Schwab says that Santa Cruz police had been informed before the raid that some foreign nationals might be held briefly held until their identities and case histories could be determined. Schwab says that’s exactly what happened, and 10 of the 11 immigrants were released.
Schwab says one remains in custody because of his criminal history and possible ties to the gang investigation.
Schwab says any allegations that agents were making secret plans to detain people solely for immigration are “false, reckless and disturbing.”
A California police chief and mayor say federal agents “betrayed” local officers assisting in the takedown of alleged members of the notorious El Salvadoran-based gang by also using the pre-dawn raids to also make immigration arrests.
Santa Cruz Police Chief Kevin Vogel and assistant chief Dan Flippo said Thursday that Department of Homeland Security officials lied when they assured them a Feb. 13 joint operation in the region would not include immigration-related arrests. Flippo said he learned a “number” of immigration arrests were made the next night when more than 100 people showed up to a Santa Cruz City Council meeting to voice their displeasure.
Mayor Cynthia Chase expressed similar sentiment.
DHS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Santa Cruz is a “sanctuary city,” which bars police from cooperating with federal authorities investigating immigration violations.
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