Santa Barbara- S County

Witnesses report ICE arrest on Santa Barbara's Eastside

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Local immigration advocates are encouraging people to know their rights following a Santa Barbara arrest that appears to have involved ICE agents.

The first reports came in about 7:30 a.m. Thursday at a gas station on Milpas Street, near Quinientos Street.

Witnesses told our newsroom that immigration agents in three SUVs stopped a driver and then took a man into custody. Witnesses said the whole situation lasted less than five minutes.

We reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Federal officials said they cannot release specific details, but that all arrests are targeted and involve mostly people suspected in crimes.

The full statement is below:

Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, the agency does not offer specific details related to enforcement operations

The officers and special agents with ICE's two enforcement components – Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) - make criminal and administrative arrests every day in the course of carrying out their mission to uphold public safety. 

In all instances, our arrests are targeted – we don't engage in indiscriminate sweeps or raids. Additionally, in the case of HSI, most of the arrests involve criminal suspects and have no nexus to immigration.

As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. In fact, 90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed. That said, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and – if found removable by final order – removal from the United States.

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