On Aug. 27, agents from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) performed raids in both Flagstaff and Sedona with warrants for 12 undocumented individuals, arresting six. The following day, approximately 70 people showed up in front of the Coconino County Detention Facility (CCDF) and Flagstaff Police Department (FPD) to demand answers as to why ICE was being allowed to operate in the cities.
Repeal Coalition Arizona representative Alexandra Samarron explained how the arrests were carried out and why she and the others joining her were there.
“ICE had nine orders of arrest in Flagstaff and three in Sedona. That’s why they came here, and in Flagstaff we have had three arrests confirmed that happened yesterday,” said Samarron. “The earliest occurred at 8 a.m. and they were dressed as civilians as well, not wearing uniforms.”
Of the six arrested, one was arrested without a warrant, according to Samarron. Samarron also revealed that multiple raids are happening in the city still.
“The undocumented community is saying they know ICE comes to Flagstaff every three to six months to Flagstaff and picks people up. Not just those who have orders of arrest, but whoever they encounter,” Samarron said.
Transparency is another issue Samarron wants to bring up concerning these arrests. None of the families are being informed of where their loved ones are being sent after arrested.
“No communication is occurring as to where family members are being taken,” Samarron said. "People are just being taken and then you have sisters, brothers, wives, stuck trying to figure out where their family members are.”
Many others spoke to the crowd as well, sharing their personal stories and experiences not only with ICE but just within the United States justice system. No matter who was speaking or from what background, the message was the same: They all wanted ICE to stop these arrests.
Mike Caulkins, president of Friends of Flagstaff's Future, explained that the organization would do its part to help the families of those arrested.
"We have a bail and bond fund that raises money specifically to help those in our community that have immigration status issues to get bailed out of jail, should they need that," said Caulkins.
The county jail wasn't the only place that saw protesters, as community members spoke out about this issue during the public comments section at the Aug. 28 City Council meeting.
Flagstaff local Sandra Lubarsky shared her thoughts with the council.
"Yesterday was a day of fear and terror for our community. A day of fear and terror not only for our undocumented community members, but for all of us," said Lubarsky. "We were all made less safe yesterday because local law enforcement did not adequately protect our community from the activities of ICE."
She went on to call ICE immoral and reminded the council how in February 2018 the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services revised its mission statement to remove the phrase "nation of immigrants." She also brought up the 528 children still currently separated from their parents as reported by PBS News.
While the City Council and Mayor Coral Evans did not directly respond to any of the public comments regarding the ICE arrests, they have taken some action in the past already. And though no verbal comments were made, Council member Eva Putzova was displaying a large sticker on the back of her laptop screen that read, "ABOLISH ICE: Stop terrorizing Flagstaff."
This past April, the council signed a resolution that condemned cooperation between ICE and the Coconino County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) and FFD. It came about after it was revealed that the CCSO was complying with ICE requests to detain certain prisoners beyond their sentence, according to the Arizona Daily Sun.
What will happen to those currently in custody or where they will be taken is all still unknown. However, what is known is that ICE raids are still occurring with some frequency in Flagstaff and Sedona and families are still being broken up.