Mexican Consulate in Bishop to quell fears of deportation
There are rumors spreading through social media and the analog grapevine of raids by the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, whom several locals say have been rounding up undocumented workers for deportation. They are only rumors.
The Deputy Consul General of the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento, Jose Rodrigo, whose jurisdiction includes Mammoth, stated in an email to The Sheet on Wednesday, March 1, “We were able to confirm with ICE-ERO (Enforcement and Removal Operations) Sacramento that there was no presence of immigration officers in that area (in the last three weeks).”
David Preciado Juarez, Consul General for the Mexican Consulate in Fresno told a crowd in Bishop on Tuesday, February 28, that there has not been a raid in the eight counties he serves, including Inyo and those in the Central Valley, in months. He said ICE is not doing anything new; they’re following the same old policies and looking for felons and repeat offenders. Unless you’re a criminal, he said, you don’t have much to worry about.
The rumors come as no surprise, since ICE has no obligation to notify local law enforcement or authorities before or after they conduct a raid. They are ghosts. Rodrigo told The Sheet, “You’ll be hearing a lot of these situations.”
The only thing close to ICE agents on the Eastside, says Crystal Schaefer of the Mammoth Lakes Police Department, are Border Patrol agents in the area driving vehicles with Border Patrol insignia on the doors while they participate in cold weather training.
The Mexican Consulate from Fresno was in Bishop all week, holding a public meeting Tuesday, February 28. The purpose of the meeting was to help Mexican nationals with visas and passports, and to calm nerves.
Bishop Police Chief Ted Stec took questions from an audience of more than 50 people, saying he and Hardy were there to try and lower the anxiety level by answering some questions. He was asked, if someone gets pulled over for running a red light and found out to be undocumented, would officers turn the person over to ICE.
“No,” Stec said. “Detaining and arresting immigrants is not the job of local law enforcement, those are federal crimes.”