With immigration arrests up 17% in Southern California, the images of agents pulling immigrants out their homes have terrified Mexican and Central American communities.
The Los Angeles Police Department says they have seen a 25% drop in reports of sexual assault coming from the Latinx community. A youth art center in LA’s Lincoln Heights neighborhood has seen a 34% drop in enrollment since last year. And just last month, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said he’s worried all the immigration arrest could spark a riot.
Now it turns out almost 40% of agents conducting raids in Southern California are Latinx, according to a report published by the New York Times Friday morning. The staffing demographic statistic was referred to in passing as part of a larger feature story about the team that conducts home raids in Southern California.
These officers are likely arresting other Latinx immigrants, since the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants in Southern California we born in Mexico or Central America.
And “they do not apologize,” David Marin, an enforcement supervisor with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told The Times.
Immigrant rights advocates and lawyers told Fusion that this is the first time they’ve seen staffing demographics for this team. Though in 2008, the Border Patrol, which is a separate agency from ICE, announced 52% of Border Patrol jobs are held by Latinx officers.
Marin told the paper many of these ICE officers are vilified and hear questions like, “How can you do this to your own people?”
He said many of the officers have children and understand that seeing uniformed agents taking a parent away can have a lasting impact on a child.
“We know an arrest is a traumatic event for a family. We know the impact it has, and we take it very seriously,” Marin said.
“But that’s not our fault,” Marin said in a video interview with the Times. He went on to say the person “that’s here illegally, that’s the person that broke up the family.”