ICE arrests at least 1 person in South Berkeley raid

David Gomez/Courtesy

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Update 3/16/2018: This developing story has been updated to reflect new information from sources.

One individual was arrested by Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, a branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, near a housing complex by 2218 Parker St. about 11 a.m. Friday.

The detainments mark one of the first publicly known ICE raids in Berkeley since the start of the recent nationwide crackdown on undocumented individuals. 

Although one arrest was confirmed, the Rapid Response Network for Alameda County initially said three individuals were detained but added that no other information is known about the individuals at this time.

Funded by Oakland and Alameda County, the organization is a 24/7 hotline to provide a “rapid response to legal needs of Alameda County residents and families facing (imminent) deportation.”

Third-year law student Kim Ouillette witnessed the detainment from her home. She said she saw at least six unmarked cars parked in the driveway, with officers in HSI vests filing out. When Ouillette initially approached the scene, she said the officers told her that they were just conducting a routine investigation and would not be “picking anyone up.” Later, however, Ouillette said she saw the officers handcuff and arrest at least one individual.

I was just really shocked and really upset,” Ouillette said. “It was frustrating to have the officers lie to me, because it took me longer to act on what was happening. They told me explicitly that they weren’t picking anyone up, and then I saw that they were arresting people.”

None of the neighbors know the identities of the detained individuals, according to Ouillette. She said she was one of the first neighbors on the scene — soon after she arrived, many residents gathered and called the Rapid Response Network hotline to figure out how to secure legal services for the three detained individuals.

According to Yadira Sanchez, the Northern California regional organizer for the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance, there were other reports of ICE activity around Alameda County on Friday morning, including near Ashby Avenue in Berkeley.

Sanchez added that neighbors notified the Rapid Response Network for Alameda County, which dispatched legal observers to the scene of detainment. The legal observers are currently working to assist the families of the detained individuals.

In response to one Berkeley resident’s tweet, Mayor Jesse Arreguín tweeted Friday that his office is looking into the detainment. After several false ICE sightings in the past few months, Berkeley community members have been on alert about immigration raids. This incident comes after ICE conducted immigration sweeps in the Bay Area earlier this month that resulted in the detainment of more than 150 individuals.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Amber Tang and Malini Ramaiyer at [email protected].