South Bay Immigrant Advocates Offer Support to Families, Businesses Targeted by ICE

Local advocates and public officials are continuing to address growing fears throughout the community in the wake of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) serving inspection notices at 77 Northern California businesses last week—including several in the South Bay.

The I-9 audit notifications issued last week alerted employers in San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento and other cities that ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will check their hiring records. The workplace enforcement campaign came less than a month after the 7-Eleven raids and as the region sees a huge uptick in immigration-related retaliation complaints.

ICE spokesman James Schwab said the I-9 investigations are ongoing, and that workers unauthorized to work in the U.S. will be subject to arrest and deportation.

“The actions taken this [past] week reflect HSI’s stepped-up efforts to enforce the laws that prohibit businesses from hiring illegal workers,” Schwab wrote in an email. “HSI’s worksite enforcement strategy is focused on protecting jobs for U.S. citizens and others who are lawfully employed, eliminating unfair competitive advantages for companies that hire an illegal workforce, and strengthening public safety and national security.”

The raids have created a sense of panic in immigrant communities, putting them in “defensive mode,” according to immigrant advocate Rosa De Leon, a program manager for the charitable nonprofit Sacred Heart Community Services.

But, she added, hers and other local organizations are doing their best to fight back.

“It’s having a big impact not only on immigrant families, but overall in the community and workforce in our county,” De Leon said. “We have been in contact with workers who have been in their company for about 19 years. Now they are being forced to leave their job due to these audits.”

Santa Clara County’s Rapid Response Network—a volunteer-run hotline that aims to help immigrants targeted by authorities—fielded calls from six workers and two employers affected by the recent I-9 probes. Even before the workplace audits, De Leon said, the hotline was fielding up to 15 calls a day from people concerned about the enforcement crackdowns. The emergency network, which is staffed by 700 volunteers, has been unable to confirm many of the suspected raids, but is providing referrals to attorneys and other resources for families at risk of deportation.

Celine DinhJanelle—director of Pangea Legal Services’ South Bay operations, which represents people in deportation proceedings—said she hasn’t been in contact with anyone affected by the recent audits in Silicon Valley. But she encouarged the immigrant community to resist President Donald Trump’s intimidation tactics by learning about the resources available to help people targeted by ICE.

“It’s scare tactics by the Trump administration to punish California for being a sanctuary state,” DinhJanelle said. “The only reason why I think they did so many at the same time was to make headlines and really make the community worried.”

For immigrants affected by these crackdowns, she added, that it’s important for them to become informed of their rights. Consultations with advocacy organizations and immigration attorneys can help them determine their risk for arrest and figure out what options they have to fight it.

“The immigrant community should know that we have the power to stop this,”De Leon said. “We need to continue to be active in challenging the attacks to our community. We can stop them, but we’ve got to transform our fear into action.”

She urged people who witness a suspected immigration raid should call the Rapid Response Network 408.290.1144. For more information about the hotline, click here.


  1. This is just plain nuts. There are 9 Billion people on the planet and 99% of them want to come to California. With today’s travel technologies – they could all be here in a week. I state clearly here – that I am not against anybody. But I do favor people getting to choose how they form their societies, cultures and communities. This cannot happen with millions of people swamping the lifeboats. Ask yourself -“Why do people want to come here?” Why?
    OK – you don’t want to answer that. Doing so will reveal your hypocrisy. People want to come here because we have managed to build a system that works. It works because we have a system or rules and laws. Things stay orderly that way and a society can grow in a meaningful way. When the rules and laws are NOT followed things begin to fall apart.
    We’ve had 40+ years of progressive rule in this state and California has turned from Golden State to garbage stat – just look around and tell us that ain’t so.
    San Francisco once described as the “Paris of the West” now has an app for your phone to warn you which sidewalks have the most human feces to avoid.
    The rules have crumbling for some time now. Ask the Rapid Response Network how soon they can get more housing built for the multitudes that will be pouring in. And schools, new roads, water supplies, etc. Tech and automation are rapidly replacing the low skill, low ed jobs so then what? I feel badly for people who have broken the laws and face tough situation. But what is the answer? By allowing those already here to stay – only signals others to come and the problem only grows. Many years ago even Cesar Chavez was against illegal immigration – for the simple reason that it disrupted the existing workforces already here- at some point – you have to admit – enough is enough.

    • Mr. Biquitous:

      You’re not even TRYING to cheer me up.

      Now I feel like crapping on the sidewalk.

      • Just don’t crap on a spot already claimed or you might be assaulted. I understand Sam Liccardo has some of his favorite gangbangers-turned-coders working on an app to prevent claim jumping. Should be ready in about 10 cubed years.

    • Hugh B,

      Excellent points, with plenty of common sense. But those points will never be implemented, considered, or even acknowledged by the sorry rulers of this once Golden State—or by their propagandists, like the author of this deception.

      The ghost of George Orwell rolls over in its grave every time this scribbler writes:

      “…to help immigrants targeted by authorities…” or
      “For immigrants affected by these crackdowns…” or
      “…immigration-related retaliation…” or
      “…immigrants affected by these crackdowns…” or
      “…a sense of panic in immigrant communities…” or
      “The immigrant community should know…”

      Show of hands: what’s the missing word in all those phrases? Let’s help Ms. Kristin:

      The missing word is “ILLEGAL”!

      “Illegal” is an essential, defining, and necessary word that she deliberately omits from her article. So the issue is being framed as if these “immigrants” are in our country legally, along with the clear implication that those racist Trump-supporting whiteboys hate Mexicans; another lie.

      However, this article refers to citizens of a foreign country who are here illegally. They are breaking the law every minute they remain here, and they are denying American citizens the jobs they take. They’re also defrauding American taxpayers, and here in California, millions of illegals place a rising burden on our scarce water resources.

      But neither these groups, nor their enablers in Congress have done what our rules allow: they aren’t working to get our immigration laws changed, and they aren’t following our immigration procedures. Why not?

      Americans are extremely generous. We encourage LEGAL immigration. But these illegals are freeloaders and scofflaws who know that if they jump the line ahead of legal immigrants immigrating here honestly, their lefty pals in Congress will give them a Get Out Of Jail Free card—so the illegals refuse to obey our laws. To illegals, our laws are for chumps, and those chumps include the honest folks who are immigrating lawfully.

      Propaganda like this misrepresents the situation by pretending that ICE is persecuting legal immigrants—a flat out lie.

      Kristin Lam should distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, because pretending all immigrants are being targeted by ICE is simply dishonest.

  2. I.C.E. is coming to San Jose. Sacred Heart should be concerned. I.C.E. because will be coming for you. Intelligence concerning illegal aliens using your facility has already been transmitted to I.C.E.
    There is NO place illegal aliens can hide.
    I.C.E. will get them.
    The 2:00 a.m. knock on the door is coming for you. I wish I could be there to see it and applaud.
    Hasta la vista imgres illegals.
    David S. Wall

    • In that same vein, there is no place in the Constitution where language can be found which shields churches from the legal consequences of breaking the law. Harboring fugitives from the law is a crime. It is a crime for a family member to harbor a known fugitive, and it’s no different for a church choosing to harbor an illegal immigrant. Contrary to what some may say, most illegals are actually criminals, as opposed to violators of a civil code. And, the Immigration and Naturalization Act makes it a crime to knowingly harbor illegal aliens. There is no language in the code excepting places of worship from this law.

      By choosing to do so, the leadership of churches harboring fugitives can be arrested just as easily as the illegals themselves. Just because law enforcement is loathe to enter a place of worship to arrest a fugitive, doesn’t mean that they cannot or should not. And religion should not be used to shield criminals of any kind from justice. This includes illegal immigrants.

  3. {Hypocrisy}, Definition : Flooding the state with millions of illegal aliens to do jobs Americans won’t do for 5-10 bucks an hour and then raising minimum wage to $15 because people can’t live here at $15 an hour!

  4. Once again…. ICE is not coming to hook up random illegals who are just plain here illegally. This is the left pushing their BS rhetoric. The city and county have a duty to report illegal immigrants who are arrested for DUI or other violent offenses. Liberal insanity at its worse!

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