Fred Ledesma

Soledad Mayor Fred Ledesma stands in a farm field. Soledad was the first Monterey County city since President Donald Trump was elected to become a sanctuary city. 

Local rumors of impending immigration raids started almost as soon as President Donald Trump was sworn in in January, and last week, the rumors turned out to be true. 

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials arrested 54 foreign nationals in seven California counties from June 5-9, with the largest number of those arrests—19—occurring in Monterey County. 

Arrests were also made in Santa Cruz, Fresno, Merced, Tulare, Madera and Kings counties.

These arrests mark an uptick in immigration enforcement action. 

"Since President Trump signed the executive orders regarding immigration enforcement priorities, ICE has arrested more than 41,000 individuals nationwide who are either known or suspected of being in the country illegally, a nearly 40-percent increase over the same period in 2016," according to a statement sent by ICE. 

Within Monterey County, seven people were arrested in King City; six in Greenfield; four in Salinas; and two in Soledad.

Soledad became the first Monterey County city to designate itself as a sanctuary city since Trump's election.

Of the 54 people arrested, 45 have prior criminal convictions, according to a statement by ICE. Most of those criminal convictions, 16, are for DUIs. Seven are for drug offenses and five are for illegal entry or re-entry to the U.S. 

There are also violent crimes among those convictions: six for domestic violence, one for battery and one for sex crimes, as well as three for weapons violations.   

All except one of those arrested are from Mexico. The other is from El Salvador. 

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Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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(1) comment

Norma Ray

The numbers speak for themselves. 45 out of 54 were known criminals? Logicly though, I think they should target "criminals only" regardless of where they are from The others should not any threat to our society .Being a sanctuary to some has a totally different meaning than it was intended.To those non law abiding citizens it means "Do whatever you want to do. There will be no consequences"
Right now in Salinas there are a group of renegades conducting illegal Dog fighting, Illegal gambling, and Drug trafficking, and carrying on as though they are above the law .They believe they are covering up their deeds with loud obnoxious music and other unusual noise that disrupts the entire neighborhood and challenges Law enforcement to stop them.Citizens should not have to live in these conditions. Some have put their life savings into buy homes here, only to see the City being destroyed

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