ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit raided the home of a West Oakland Latina family on August 16. Oakland police claim their only role was blocking street traffic while the raid was conducted, but it’s hard to take anything Oakland police say at face value when both ICE and the Oakland police department have lied about the incident. Defensive about the raid, Oakland police first smeared the family with a salacious and blatantly untrue allegation while the raid was still in progress — and OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick continues to spread falsehoods about the matter, inferring at a recent town hall that one brother was charged for trafficking his younger sibling. Bigger picture, both ICE and OPD publicly promote a false distinction between ICE’s criminal investigation and immigration enforcement functions, whittling away at the value of Oakland as a “sanctuary city.”
Even though the Homeland Security form I-213 for Santos [attached below] reads “arrested for the crime of ‘Human Slavery or Trafficking,'” the narrative portion just below that reveals HSI had no evidence he was “a perpetrator, conspirator or accomplice of the alleged crimes described on the search warrant/complaint.” Additionally, HSI Task Force Officer H. Carrasquillo writes that Santos was asked whether he had any legal status to reside in the United States — and after Santos replied, “No,” he was immediately arrested.The form I-213 itself is literally a “Record of Deportable/Inadmissible Alien,” filled out by Homeland Security agents upon the arrest of a person with an undocumented immigration status, basically initiating the deportation process. It includes information on a person’s criminal and immigration history, as well as personal data like date of birth, fingerprints, and health condition. It is not a report utilized for non-immigration-related criminal prosecutions.
Santos bail hearing was held at the US Citizen & Immigration Services building on Sansome Street in San Francisco on August 30, at which he appeared remotely by video monitor while being jailed at the West County Detention Center in Richmond, California. His bond was set at $5,000, the bond intended to guarantee his appearance before an immigration judge at an as-yet-unspecified “removal proceeding.” Five thousand would be a low bond if there were criminal charges filed related to human trafficking. The money was paid and Santos was freed that same day.
All of this underscores that while Santos’ I-213 says that he was “arrested for the crime of ‘Human Slavery or Trafficking,'” his arrest and detention were solely due to his immigration status. There is a possibility Santos might be able to achieve legal status down the road, but ICE is currently following their deportation playbook with him.
As an aside, it’s worth pointing out that there are irregularities in Santos’ I-213. For instance, the note about the crime Santos was arrested for was included in the “Previous Criminal History” section and given the date of 8/10/17. Santos was not arrested prior to the day of the West Oakland raid. Was the inclusion of that note under that heading, with that particular date, some sort of Homeland Security protocol for the I-213, or was it incompetence, deliberate prevarication, or a combination thereof? If taken literally by some future immigration judge, would it effect his chances of remaining in the United States?
The narrative section of the I-213 includes this patently false statement: “Santos Alberto, (Subject) an adult male citizen of Guatemala, was found at the residence searched where several victims of Human Trafficking were rescued.” There was no “rescue” of victims, the day of the raid or before that, according to the family. No one has ever been to their house who didn’t come of their own free will. They are not running a business that exploits migrants.
The only two people removed from the home by ICE on August 16 were Santos and Darwin, as documented by multiple media outlets present in the street during the raid. Santos, with no legal residency status, was transferred to West County Detention Center, where he was held for two weeks. Darwin, whose residency petition was already in progress, was lured on false pretenses to the Alameda County Family Justice Center on 27th Street. It’s unclear why ICE did so, but it does allow them and OPD to disingenuously pretend that the raid benefited someone.
Not to overstate the matter, but it’s flatly untrue that “several victims” were removed from the house. ICE’s own I-213 on Santos declares that he “is not believed to be a victim,” and Darwin voluntarily returned to his home after the ordeal, continuing to work in the family janitorial services business of his own volition. The only actual victim known thus far is Santos, arrested and jailed for nothing to do with ICE’s supposed investigation, currently facing possible deportation.
Everything ICE or HSI does is an immigration matter. Certainly, ICE has full access to whatever information on undocumented persons HSI is able to gather, and there is no reason to doubt that ICE won’t use it to go after undocumented folks. Plus, with “collateral arrests,” anyone ICE or HSI happens to bump into is fair game and Oakland police know this. There is no true separation between criminal and immigration enforcement at ICE. It’s a ruse that weakens resistance to raids with resulting deportations.
Is Kirkpatrick making it up as she goes along? Is she deliberately attempting to deceive the public and elected officials? Is ICE lying to her? What documentation or other assurances from ICE does she rely on? Regardless, what Kirkpatrick said is not true, as shown in Santo’s I-213: on the day of his arrest, HSI had no evidence he was involved in the crimes described in the search warrant. And it is a bald-faced lie when Kirkpatrick categorically states, “Only one person has been charged with a crime and there is not a deportation matter in this case.” There is absolutely *no* criminal charge. There *is* a deportation matter; it’s the only tangible result of the raid at this point. And Santos has *not* been accused of or charged with trafficking anyone, except by her and OPD.
Kirkpatrick would like us all to believe that the ICE raid was beneficial when she speaks about services in the video — “they went and received services and then left” — as if multiple traumatized victims of something as horrible as “human slavery and trafficking” were saved and then provided with much-needed recovery services. The raid sounds so benign in her rendering of what happened. It’s obvious Kirkpatrick feels compelled to pooh-pooh the controversy surrounding the raid in which OPD assisted, a raid that has resulted in real-life deportation proceedings.
But, pause for a moment and ponder the absurdity of what Oakland police chief Anne Kirkpatrick is implying. Santos was charged with human trafficking in her alternate universe, and Darwin was rescued from said trafficking and received services. Never mind that they are brothers who willingly live and work together. Kirkpatrick is asserting that one brother is charged with trafficking the other. It’s nonsensical, even ignoring that the facts on which her story is built are false.
What does it mean to be a sanctuary city when ICE arrests residents at will and Oakland police assist them in doing so? Is Mayor Libby Schaaf satisfied with her new pick as police chief lying about ICE raids at town halls? Is the Oakland city council going to stand by while ICE carries out collateral arrests, or worse, with the cooperation of OPD?
For more information on the August 16 West Oakland raid, please see the following links.
Is OPD Still Cooperating with Deportations?
An Open Letter to Oakland’s Elected Officials from Oakland Privacy Working Group
ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations Unit Raids Oakland Home, Arrests One