NEW YORK — Thousands of undocumented families are the target in immigration raids that started Sunday in major cities coast-to-coast under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation backed by President Donald Trump. The raids, reported Sunday in New York, Massachusetts and Texas, have sparked outrage among immigration advocates and even members of the Republican president’s own party.
The sweep will take place over several days and will target criminals and “bad players,” Trump says, but anyone who came to the United States illegally and previously ignored deportation orders could be rounded up.
Trump says allowing them to stay in the country isn’t fair to others who have been waiting for years to become U.S. citizens through a legal process.
The raids reportedly target about 2,000 people previously ordered out of the country but still living in 10 cities: Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City and San Francisco.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, said federal immigration agents were seen in the “Big Apple” on Saturday, hours before the roundup was expected to begin. De Blasio, who has said he will not cooperate with ICE, tweeted that ICE agents attempted unsuccessful raids in Harlem and Sunset Park in Brooklyn.
In Baltimore, Mayor Jack Young said he does not support the sweep, and the city’s police department codified a policy in the days prior stating its officers wouldn’t participate.
“Immigrants who call Baltimore home should not live in fear of family separation and deportation, and I will continue to do all that is in my power so that all Baltimore residents, including immigrants, feel safe and welcome in our city,” Mayor Young said in a statement Friday.
City and school officials in Atlanta, urged people to know their rights should they be detained by ICE agents. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms even urged migrants to stay in their homes.
The southern Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said on Sunday no arrests had been made Sunday, and with Tropical Storm Barry dumping rain on Louisiana, New Orleans city officials tweeted that ICE enforcement would be suspended through the weekend.
Immigration advocates warned migrants in other cities to remain vigilant. Delivering on hardline immigration promises he made in the 2016 campaign is top of mind for Trump as he seeks a second term. He tweeted last month the raids mark the beginning of a push to deport millions of people in the country illegally.
The raids were originally to have taken place in late June. Trump delayed the operation after talking to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and gave congressional Democrats two weeks to pass a $4.6 billion border aid package. Also, details of the operation had been leaked, some by Trump himself via Twitter, and authorities were worried about the safety of ICE officers.
The agency didn’t offer any specifics ahead of the raids, saying only in a statement: “As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Operations taking place regularly since 2003 have often produced hundreds of arrests, but in the past, ICE has focused efforts on rounding up criminals who “pose a threat to public safety,” according to its website. What’s different this time is that agency is targeting families who had expedited court dates to deter migrants waiting in Mexico to cross the southern border, acting ICE director Mark Morgan told reporters last month.
As fear swept immigrant families, many stayed home from work, skipped medical appointments and kept their children inside. But with broader authority in the current operation, ICE agents are able to enter people’s homes.
Former Department of Homeland Security officials who spoke to The New York Times said the raids will produce “collateral arrests” of people who happen to be on the scene who weren’t specifically targeted for deportation, but are deportable.
The former homeland security officials told The Times that family members arrested together will be held in family detention centers in Texas and Philadelphia when possible, but because space is limited, some could also be put up in hotels while their immigration courts process their travel orders.
Trump has been under increasing political pressure for days to reconsider the raids, which critics argue take resources away from Border Patrol detention centers that already are detaining four times the number of people they’re designed to hold. In a report last week, government inspectors described described filthy, unhealthy conditions inside some Border Patrol stations, including some in which adults were forced to stand for days on end and centers jammed for more than two weeks with children younger than 7.
The American Civil Liberties Union said in a federal lawsuit filed in New York that thousands of migrants fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras haven’t been given a fair chance to make their asylum pleas in court, but were still ordered deported.
Pelosi said ahead of the raids that “families belong together,” and Washington state Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, accused the Trump administration of a “willingness to be cruel at every turn.”
However, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, blamed Pelosi, saying “it is the speaker who caused this problem.” Trump would have delayed the raids again if there had been progress on the reform of asylum rules in the House, he said.
Immigration activists are planning rallies this weekend in several of the targeted cities, including one in Chicago, where organizers expect to draw about 10,000 people.
“We will not be swayed by fear and fiat,” Justin Valas of Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Chicago told The Associated Press.
Advocates ramped up know-your-rights training for immigrants after Trump took office, and are advising all immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, to refuse answers to ICE officers’ question and demand to see proper paperwork.
“We don’t want to alarm folks, but we want to alert folks,” Melissa Taveras of the Florida Immigrant Coalition told the AP.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.
Click Here: cheap nsw blues jersey