Federal Immigration Agents Make Appearance At Mission Community Center

By Camden Avery - Published on January 26, 2017.

One day after President Trump signed an executive order to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents entered a community center at the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center (1294 Potrero Ave.), the Examiner and Mission Local reported today.

Mario Paz, the executive director of the center, told Mission Local that ICE agents entered the building shortly after 9am this morning, carrying papers and asking if two specific individuals lived there. Staff told the agents that the building was not residential, and was in fact a community center. The agents then went next-door to the Good Samaritan-owned apartment building, where a group of five agents waited outside the locked-door building for about 10 minutes before leaving empty-handed.

The community center, which was hosting an English as a Second Language class upstairs when the agents entered the building, also houses a preschool. The Examiner reports that 30 toddlers and children were playing just feet away from where agents entered the building.

"Enforcement actions" such as arrests, interviews and searches by immigration officers on school grounds are generally prohibited by the federal government, as they are considered "sensitive locations."

Raids by immigration agents are rare in San Francisco, by all accounts. A protest at the city's ICE office a year ago was held in opposition to national raids and arrests, but organizers acknowledged that at the time there were no arrests being made within California as part of that operation.

Whether or not today's incident is directly tied to Trump's promised policy changes, it's seen by some as an alarming move in a historically immigrant-rich community. It comes on the heels of Trump's executive order to expand the nation's deportation forces and build a wall on the Mexican border, moves that today prompted Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel a planned meeting with Trump.

Update, 1/27: The Chronicle reports that the ICE agents were attempting to locate a convicted sex offender wanted for deportation. 

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