UPDATED: JAN 17 2018 06:51PM PST
SAN FRANCISCO - Federal immigration officials are reportedly preparing for a major sweep in Northern California after the director of ICE threatened to target California for becoming a sanctuary state.
Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement plan to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented immigrants, mostly in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, citing a source familiar with the operation.
In a letter to ICE's acting director issued on Wednesday, representing California, U.S. senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris asked to be "immediately" briefed on the reports of raids. The letter refers to the Chronicle report and the claim that ICE is sending additional personnel to California to increase the number of raids.
"We are deeply concerned that rather than focusing efforts on violent criminals, raids carried out in neighborhoods and workplaces could result in the deportation of individuals who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time," the letter read. "We firmly believe that law enforcement must prioritize dangerous criminals and not undocumented immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety," they added.
"This is wrong," U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) said in a statement, echoing what others in the California congressional delegation feel. "The administration is targeting immigrants to make a political statement. Immigrants are the backbone of our country and such raids will only incite fear in our communities and undermine public safety. We must stand up for their rights.”
ICE spokesman James Schwab told KTVU in an email on Wednesday that “we don’t speculate about future enforcement actions.” He also would not comment further – nor speculate – on the Chronicle’s source.
The news comes weeks after the Trump administration's ICE director Thomas Homan expressed anger over California becoming a sanctuary state, telling Fox News, "California better hold tight."