There Is No 'Immigration Checkpoint' At San Pedro And Pico, It's A Hoax
Despite what you might have seen on Facebook or Twitter on Friday afternoon, there is not an immigration checkpoint at the corner of Pico Boulevard and San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles. In fact, there are no checkpoints of any kind at Pico and San Pedro. Here's a panorama of the intersection taken just after 4:30 p.m. today:
While U.S. Customs and Border Protection does operate a number of fixed traffic checkpoints in permanent locations near the U.S. border, its sister agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), does not operate traffic checkpoints of any kind, according to ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.
ICE spokeswoman Lori K. Haley told LAist via email that rumors "claiming the agency has set up checkpoints at multiple locations in Los Angeles or that the agency is conducting random 'raids' are completely baseless." Haley said that the agency was "working diligently to address these false reports." Further, Haley told LAist that ICE "does not conduct random enforcement of any kind."
People started tweeting about the alleged checkpoint at Pico and San Pedro a little after 1 p.m. Friday. At 2:57 p.m., local radio station KPFK tweeted out a warning about the checkpoint, which likely hastened the spread of the rumor:
Similar fears spread through the Inland Empire yesterday, when rumors circulated that there was an immigrant checkpoint in Ontario, leading to a bevy of social media postings.
A woman working at a business near the intersection of San Pedro and Pico in the Garment District told LAist intern Yazmin Nunez that she hadn't seen any unusual happening outside. "Immigration wasn't here, or else they would have taken everybody," the woman said in Spanish.
Given recent events, it's no surprise that people are feeling scared, but Angelenos should know that the LAPD has reconfirmed their commitment not to cooperate with federal immigration officials numerous times. And don't panic if you do see what appears to be a "checkpoint" this weekend—the LAPD is setting a number of DUI checkpoints in anticipation of Super Bowl revelry.
Here is the ACLU's extremely helpful "Know Your Rights: What To Do If Immigration Agents Are At Your Door" guide.
This article previously misstated Los Angeles's relationship to CBP's 100-mile buffer zone; the city falls inside of it.