ICE reports uptick in maritime smuggling events this past summer

According to a news release by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “ Maritime smuggling events in Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura counties increased significantly this summer reaching record levels.” 

Smuggling events are dangerous for migrants, as they risk capsizing, hypothermia, or crashing alongshore. Migrants may pay thousands of dollars to try and make the maritime journey to the U.S and sometimes they are sent back home.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are felt on a global scale and could possibly drive migrants from their homes to the U.S.   

According to the center for immigration studies’ website, Los Angeles County is a sanctuary county that  “will not honor ICE detainer without a court order or an arrest warrant.”

Contrary to the sanctuary county, city, and state statutes, Long Beach houses both ICE and CBP offices.

On Dec. 16, 2020, 23 Mexican Nationals arrived near downtown Long Beach by

 panga (fishing) boat, where they were all arrested by authorities.

What happens to these migrants after they are arrested, given the sanctuary status of Los Angeles County?  

According to an LA Times article, first-time migrants from the boat might be deported back to their migrating countries, while others will be assessed individually.

Long Beach voted to help protect immigrants in 2018 with the establishment of the Values Act.

The 2018 Values Act helps protect DACA and DREAMER students, prevents future deportations of Long Beach residents, and protects the confidentiality of local immigrant residents and their information. 

It also establishes that no city resources are to be used to create registries based on religious affiliation, immigration status, or any other protected class such as gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.

It takes an aggressive approach to advocate at the federal and state level for pro-immigrant policies.

While the Values Act and sanctuary county status may aim to help immigrants that come to Long Beach, the actions of local DHS and CBP offices may not reflect these values.


Josh Villas