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California members of Congress say they aren't getting answers on immigration raids: 'My constituents are freaked out'

Several Democratic members of California's congressional delegation said Tuesday they still don't have details about who in their districts was arrested in last week's immigration raids, and why they were targeted.

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to discuss the raids, but the meeting was abruptly canceled. And they're pretty unhappy about it.

Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said acting ICE Director Thomas Homan told her the meeting was canceled so Republicans could be invited. She said they are trying to reschedule for Thursday, but details have not been finalized.

When a reporter asked about an ICE official who said the meeting was canceled because it had grown so large it had to be bipartisan, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-Norwalk) loudly exclaimed, "Bullshit!"

Lujan Grisham said the number of attendees did increase, but nothing requires a heavily attended meeting with a government agency to be bipartisan. A spokesman for ICE did not return a phone call Tuesday.

Last week, 680 immigrants were arrested nationally in sweeps the agency characterized as routine but immigrant advocacy groups say went beyond the norm by including people without a violent criminal history. Of the 161 arrests that occurred in the L.A. area, only 10 of those deported did not have a criminal conviction, ICE said.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) said she isn't getting consistent answers from ICE officials in Los Angeles about who was swept up in the raids and why they were targeted, a frustration echoed by Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-San Pedro) and other members.

"My constituents are freaked out," Chu said. "We have serious questions, we want to know what is going on, and we want answers."

Barragán said ICE officials told her there were no instructions provided by the Department of Homeland Security about how to enforce the executive order President Trump signed that allowed almost any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally to be targeted for deportation. Other members said they were told ICE did get instructions.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), a former immigration attorney, said members want to see what ICE told field offices about whom to arrest and how that differs from immigration policies under President Obama.

"There is tremendous concern across the country about what is going to happen next," she said. "This is a nation of laws, and we think the public should know what's in that memo."

Napolitano said ICE officials still won't tell her how many people were arrested in her district, or what crimes they committed. Local mayors and police departments told her ICE wasn't giving them details about the operation either, she said.

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