Immigration officers were seen near Milpas and Quinientos streets on Santa Barbara’s Eastside this morning. Photographs show several men wearing windbreakers with “POLICE ICE” on the back around 9 a.m. Alejandra Melgoza with CAUSE (Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustained Economy) verified the general circumstances, saying it was not yet known if anyone had been arrested. She had to end the conversation because another alert had been sent that ICE agents were again on Milpas this afternoon.
The alerts go out via the 805 Immigration website, which texts alerts 24587 when people type “Alerta.” Immigrants’ legal rights, such as keeping doors closed while ICE agents try to talk their way inside and not responding while in a closed vehicle, are at the website. The 805 Immigrant website also lists legitimate legal services providers.
The Santa Barbara Police Department did not take part in the morning action, spokesperson Anthony Wagner stated, but had received a notification at 4:30 a.m. that ICE would conduct an enforcement action in town. The County Jail had received no inmate who appears to have come from immigration agents, the Sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Brad McVay said.
Attempts to contact ICE’s Western Region office in Laguna Niguel resulted in a blanket statement that any arrest would be targeted to an individual identified as a criminal or in violation of immigration laws. Spokesperson Lori Haley required a name and date of birth before being able to confirm an arrest had taken place or why.
This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
[Update] Melgoza confirmed later this afternoon that an individual was arrested this morning, but no other facts or identifying information was available. The afternoon call about ICE presence had not been fully verified, she said.