Illegal immigrants are stocking up on groceries and making plans to stay in their homes with their blinds down and lights off as agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid 10 US cities.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said there were three ICE operations in his city on Saturday, with no reported arrests. He said there was no ICE activity in New York on Sunday.
The mayor tweeted that he received reports of attempted but reportedly unsuccessful ICE enforcement actions in Sunset Park and Harlem.
He wrote: ‘@NYCImmigrants and advocates are connecting with residents and distributing resources door to door.
‘Remember: you have rights. Call 311 and say ActionNYC for help.’
De Blasio, a Democratic candidate for the 2020 presidential race, also said: ‘This is a political act by this president, he’s politicized a United States government agency to help him win re-election.’
The Miami-based Florida Immigrant Coalition said immigrants were sheltering at home after ICE agents were seen near the city’s international airport. No arrests were reported.
‘They’ve been stocking up on groceries and making plans to stay in their homes with the lights off and the blinds down,’ the group posted on Facebook. ‘Some are staying home from work.’
Illegal immigrants are stocking up on groceries and making plans to stay in their homes with their blinds down and lights off as agents from ICE (file image) raid 10 US cities
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio tweeted that he received reports of attempted but reportedly unsuccessful ICE enforcement actions in Sunset Park and Harlem on Saturday
In Denver, the Colorado Rapid Response Network of immigration activists said there were unconfirmed reports of ICE or police detaining three people on Sunday in the Potter Highlands area.
Meanwhile dozens of churches in the Los Angeles area have declared themselves sanctuaries for migrant families.
Guillermo Torres, with Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, says more churches have become involved than ever before, which he attributes to a growing sense of indignation at the administration’s actions on immigration.
Torres said Sunday that there had been no reports of arrests.
Pastor Fred Morris says the mere threat of roundups has already spread widespread fear in the community.
He says he counseled his largely Hispanic congregation on what to do if agents arrive: don’t open the door, don’t answer questions.
Meanwhile dozens of churches in the Los Angeles area have declared themselves sanctuaries for migrant families. Rev John Celichowski poses outside of the Saint Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church in Chicago
ICE announced they arrested 20 suspected illegal immigrants in San Diego last week, pictured
An ICE spokeswoman declined to comment on operations, citing the safety of the agency’s personnel.
‘We are doing targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals who have had their day in immigration court and have been ordered removed by an immigration judge,’ Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matt Albence told Fox News when asked for an update.
Albence said that enforcement operations would target families who entered the country illegally then mostly failed to attend court hearings to pursue an asylum claim.
‘We are merely executing those lawfully issued judge’s orders.
‘At this point, we have no choice but to go out and execute those lawfully-issued removal orders from an immigration judge.’
Immigration rights activists have said that in many cases immigrants do not receive proper notice of their court dates.
The operations came as the Trump administration faces criticism for housing immigrants in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and there are concerns about migrant children being separated from adults by US authorities.
‘While we haven’t heard of widespread sweeps, none of our communities should have to live in fear that parents won’t come home from work, or kids won’t return from school,’ said Lauren Weiner, communications director for the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued this week to stop the arrests going ahead.
The raids began nationwide late Saturday and into the early morning hours on Sunday in ‘a number of jurisdictions’.
A man walks in front of an ICE van and a bus parked within the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles, California on Sunday
Immigration advocates with the Florida Immigrant Coalition, outside a local supermarket handing out fliers on Saturday in Little Havana in Miami, Florida
Cities thought to be under the spotlight include Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami with around 2,000 people targeted.
The president said: ‘It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from.’
Reports of immigration officers apprehending people in the US illegally circulated on social media on Saturday.
POTUS said that agents from ICE, would conduct a series of raids on Sunday to deport immigrants with outstanding orders to leave the country.
Trump said the raids would primarily target those with a criminal record, but immigration advocates say the agency is increasingly targeting families who have recently entered the country.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the raids ‘brutal’, saying they ‘will terrorize children and tear families apart’.
And such is the fear of the raids that some US citizens have reported carrying their passport with them at all times.
David Cruz, communications director for the League of United Latin American Citizens, said: ‘I was born in this country. I’m a third-generation Texan. I’ve been carrying a passport since the day he was elected.’
Fliers to be delivered by immigration advocates with the Florida Immigrant Coalition
An American flag flies at ICE facilities Miramar, near Miami, Florida, as communities brace for a reported wave of deportation raids across the US
A new quarterly ‘Declined Detainer Report’ released Sunday ICE also detailed incidences of cases where undocumented immigrants were arrested for crimes such as rape, murder and assault.
Acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection said: ‘This is about the rule of law. Those individuals who remain here illegally, especially those who’ve received due process more than any other nation in the world would provide someone that came here illegally, to including those with final orders, that there are consequences to those that remain here illegally. That’s what today is about.
‘This is about going after individuals here illegally. Any city, any law enforcement agency that resists, does not cooperate, they’re actually putting those cities in higher danger.’
Acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told CNN: ‘They’re not undocumented. They’ve got a court order on a piece of paper, federal order, that says they’ve gotten due process, and (there are) over a million people with removal orders. That’s the pool that ICE is drawing from.’
He added: ”This is their job every day. We’ve got compassionate, loyal ICE agents who are just doing their job. ‘It shows you how far we’ve fallen in that it’s become news that they would actually go deport people who have removal orders.’
Donald Trump, (left), said the raids would primarily target those with a criminal record, but New York Mayor Bill De Blasio was keen to point out immigrant rights and directed them to agencies where they could seek assistance
Trump and other officials have previously claimed that ‘millions’ would be deported, but it is thought that such an operation would be logistically difficult.
ICE has obtained court orders for the removal of about one million undocumented migrants, according to a senior administration official, but the initial raids will target some 2,000 across at least 10 cities, the New York Times reported this week.
‘They came in illegally,’ Trump told reporters at the White House. ‘They are going to take people out and they are going to send them back to their country.’
Trump said ICE would focus mainly on people with convictions, including gang members, but also others.
‘It starts on Sunday and they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries,’ Trump added.
‘Or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from.’
While the focus will be on removing criminals, Trump said the raids would also target ‘people that came into our country, not through a process, that just walked over a line. They have to leave.’
According to the Pew Research Center, there are about 10.5 million undocumented migrants in the US, and two-thirds have been in the country more than 10 years.
Nancy Pelosi, (pictured), called the ICE plan ‘heartless raids on families’ and said Sundays are when many Hispanic immigrant families are in church
Pelosi read from a card with information about how to handle ICE raids earlier this week
In a file photo from 2017, thousands of people take part in the ‘Free the People Immigration March’ to protest actions taken by President Donald Trump and his administration
Last month Trump gave Democrats a two week deadline to change the nation’s laws that guarantee the right for people to apply for asylum as raids which had been planned were called off.
Democrats lashed out at the plans, saying they threaten people who have lived in the United States for many years and built families that include US citizens.
Pelosi called the ICE plan ‘heartless raids on families’ and said Sundays are when many Hispanic immigrant families are in church. She said families feel very ‘threatened and scared’ by the raids.
‘These families are hardworking members of our communities and our country. This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart,’ she told reporters.
‘Many of these families are mixed-status families,’ she added, referring to families who include members in the United States legally and illegally, such as migrants with children born inside the country.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighted in on Twitter earlier this week, urging people to share Spanish-language guidelines such as ‘toma fotos y videos’ – meaning take photos and videos.
‘Por favor comparte,’ Clinton wrote, or please share.
They were taking a cue from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also urged people to ‘know your rights.’
‘Check your neighbors & know your rights,’ she tweeted earlier Thursday.
‘Remember: no one can enter your home without a *judicial warrant.*’ she advised. She also wrote that ‘Sometimes ICE will try to show other papers to get in your house. Judicial warrants are from a court.’
On Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said 104,344 migrants were detained after crossing the border in June, down 28 per cent from May’s 13-year record high but still an extremely high figure, some 60,000 more than the same month last year.