OAKLAND (KRON) – Immigration and Customs Enforcement is responding to a new report alleging ICE chartered flights out of Oakland International Airport to deport nearly 43,000 undocumented immigrants out of the United States or to detention centers.
ICE has confirmed with KRON4 that it discontinued using chartered flights for “enforcement and removal operations out of Oakland” as of October 2018.
“As for future flights, we coordinate on a flight-by-flight basis,” ICE spokesperson Paul Prince said. “Commercial flights are used now, depending on where the individual is going.”
KRON4 has confirmed that nearly one thousand flights took off or landed at Oakland Airport’s North Field over an 8-year period.
Oakland airport officials confirmed “the privately chartered flights out of Oakland have stopped” and that they are “actively reviewing the situation.”
KRON4 also reached out to San Francisco International Airport, which said it “wasn’t aware of any chartered ICE flights from SFO.”
KRON4 News also contacted the office of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, she released the following statement in response:
“The Mayor’s office is reviewing this matter as it is of great interest to the Mayor and our Oakland values. We need to understand if this violated Oakland’s sanctuary city policy before we can address it.”Justin Berton, spokesperson for Mayor Libby Schaaf
Oakland’s airport is overseen by the Port of Oakland. Mike Zampa with the Port of Oakland tells KRON4’s Dan Kerman in a statement :
“The Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport understand community concerns over this issue. We have been, and will remain in compliance with sanctuary city laws. No Port or Airport employees were part of any immigration investigation, detention or arrest procedures in connection with possible immigration law violations.”
Earlier in the day he said, they didn’t know when these flights began, so they had no indication how many flights there were or how many people were on the flights. That’s because the charter airlines don’t tell them who is on their flights.
The Port of Oakland didn’t know this was going on at Oakland Airport until last week. They had not been aware of any flights.
If this is now happening on commercials flights they don’t know because privacy laws would not permit them to know who the passengers are.
The port is an independent agency of the City of Oakland. Zampa does not know whether these flights violated the city’s sanctuary policy
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.