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Kern County residents on high alert after rumored ICE raids

ICE confirms over 200 people have been picked up
Posted: 5:46 PM, Mar 02, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-03 01:46:37Z

Many local residents were on high alert Friday after hearing circulating rumors of increased immigration raids taking place throughout Kern County in the last week.

23ABC spoke to Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) earlier today and an immigration attorney to find out exactly what is happening.
    
ICE  officials would not specify the locations in Kern County that they have conducted raids and also denied setting up checkpoints, however an immigration attorney told 23ABC today that he disagrees.

"I think this is clear racial profiling," Bakersfield Immigration Attorney Win Eaton said.

Eaton has been hearing first-hand accounts of ICE officers presence in Kern County, "There’s just too many credible people telling us that they are being randomly stopped and searched."

ICE officials who declined to be interviewed on camera, told 23ABC they are not conducting “indiscriminate” or in other words random stops. They said that all of their operations are target driven, based off,  "data and leads."

"I think that they are saying that's all they are doing, that’s a lie I just don't believe that ICE is limiting their activities to those circumstances, because the evidence is quite to the contrary," Eaton said.

Eaton said his phone has been ringing off the hook from people who have no criminal records but are still being detained.

In Delano many believed police were assisting immigration officers, but Delano police officials said that they, "Assure the citizens of Delano that our department and its police officers are not assisting ICE in operations." They also declined to go on camera.

ICE confirmed 232 pick-ups from Bakersfield to the Oregon border and 212 in Los Angeles just in mid-February but wouldn't specify in what Kern County areas. Eaton said he is hearing accounts in many places, "From Lamont, from Arvin, from Porterville and Wasco."

The United Farm Workers of America (UFW) said 23 people have been detained in Kern County and that most of them are farm workers.

Eaton said if you are stopped you should corporate with officers but do not answer any questions about where you are from and how long you have been here. Due process entitles even non-citizens who have been in the U.S. for more than two years to see an immigration judge before deportation.