New story at Bright Magazine:
At 4 a.m. on February 13, 2017, just three weeks after Trump’s inauguration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents busted down the doors of Latino families’ homes in Santa Cruz, California, on the pretext of hunting MS-13 gang members. Throwing flash bang grenades and accompanied by helicopters, ICE agents parked outside apartment complexes, demanding via loudspeaker that all residents come outside.
Families, including legal U.S. residents, recounted being marched from their apartments in their pajamas. Children were told to keep their hands on their heads. Witnesses of what would later become known as the “Beach Flats raid” described watching entire families being taken into custody, including a mother of infants who was detained and scheduled for a rush immigration hearing the following week.
In the end, the raid swept up not just alleged gang members but also 11 undocumented immigrants who weren’t suspected of criminal activity — a fact that led to a fissure between ICE and the local Santa Cruz Police Department, which would later publicly denounce the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for misleading them about their mission. For its part, ICE would make the pointed comment that in its arrests, no minor children had been left unattended.