Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement attempted to arrest two people suspected of being undocumented immigrants in the Mission District on Thursday morning, but left with no arrests made.
“ICE agents arrived to our center at about 9:20 a.m. this morning,” said Mario Paz, the executive director of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center at 1294 Potrero Ave. The center sits next to 20 units of housing at 1290 Potrero Ave., and Paz said the immigration agents were looking for two people there.
“An agent entered our center with two papers in hand and asked if two individuals lived here,” he said. “Our staff responded that this is not a residency, that this is a community center.”
The agents then said thank you and stepped outside, going to the apartment complex next door, he said. The property manager was not in, Paz said, and a group of five agents waited for 10 minutes outside the complex before leaving.
Paz said it was no coincidence that the visit occurred the day after President Donald Trump threatened to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities like San Francisco. He said the visit was “sending out a message” to the city.
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“Obviously this sort of rattled us, it rattled some of our staff,” he said. “For me this is not necessarily a coincidence that this happened the day after the president’s announcement.”
It is unclear what prompted the attempted raid. Immigration officials routinely carry out arrests nationwide. Paz said this was the first attempted raid at the center in the 10 years he has been director.
An ICE spokesperson confirmed that immigration agents went to a building on Potrero Avenue to “locate a convicted sex offender who was being sought for deportation.” The agents went to the “target’s last known address,” the spokesperson said, and “did not encounter the arrest target.” The agents then left without detaining anyone.
A search for sex offenders using the state’s Megan’s Law database shows no one listed at 1290 Potrero Ave.
The apartment complex was co-developed by the Mission Housing Development Corporation and Good Samaritan, but the community center has a different entrance than the residential building. The housing units are managed by Caritas Corporation, a subsidiary of Mission Housing.
Sam Moss, the executive director of Mission Housing, said he was still reviewing video of the incident and could not yet comment, but said he immediately reached out to Supervisor Hillary Ronen when he heard of the action.
Mission Housing has been developing a “rapid response” to possible immigration raids on the hundreds of affordable housing units it manages city-wide, he added, including informing tenants of their rights if approached by immigration agents. Moss thought he had more time before a raid occurred, however.
“This happened in San Francisco quicker than I expected,” he said. “That just means we need to ramp up our efforts.”