Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to sweep major cities on Sunday in a series of raids as part of an effort to detain 2,000 immigrants who have been issued final orders of removal.
The raids were originally scheduled for June at President Donald Trump’s request; however, the president postponed them shortly before they were set to begin to give Congress time to craft immigration reform legislation. Trump threatened to move forward with the raids if the legislative branch failed to make progress within two weeks.
That deadline has now passed, and ICE officials announced last week that the agency would raid cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco beginning Sunday. Because of Tropical Storm Barry, the raids on New Orleans and Houston will reportedly be postponed.
The original raids were scheduled to being in the early morning; however, Sunday’s planned raids seemingly got off to a quiet start, with immigration advocates saying that many targeted communities had seen little movement from authorities.
“I can’t help but feel like we are waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Adonia Simpson, director of family defense for the nonprofit Americans for Immigrant Justice, told the Miami Herald. “Given the anxiety I have been feeling, I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”
Ahead of the raids, local governments and pro-immigrant groups created advisories to inform immigrants of their rights when dealing with ICE.
The ICE warrant on the left does NOT authorize agents to enter a home without permission.— ACLU (@ACLU) June 21, 2019
La orden de ICE a la izquierda NO autoriza a los agentes a entrar al domicilio sin permiso. https://t.co/hl7Q1rv7sK
What we know
- ICE agents began operations in Harlem and Brooklyn Saturday evening. The ICE officials were reportedly turned away by residents because they did not have warrants.
- Agents were reportedly seen in Immokalee, a Florida community 35 miles east of Fort Myers, Friday evening knocking on doors in an immigrant community.
- Acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli refused to tell CNN’s Jake Tapper if the raids have officially started: “I can’t speak to operation specifics and won’t.”
CNN's Jake Tapper: Have the raids started?— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 14, 2019
Acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli: I can’t speak to operational specifics and won’t. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/hqU8v7vHYa
- Cuccinelli also said the raids would prioritize the deportation of people Tapper referred to as “dangerous criminals”; however, the acting director said those criminals “will not be the exclusive limit of any operation.”
- Finally, Cuccinelli declined to say whether ICE will make efforts to ensure parents are not separated from their children during raids.
- ICE facilities and offices in cities like Chicago and Baltimore reportedly showed no signs of activity as of early Sunday morning. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told MSNBC her city was on alert, but that as of 9 am EST, “We’ve not heard anything.”
- Activists in Chicago and in Miami said they had not encountered or heard about any elevated ICE activity as of Sunday afternoon. No reports of extraordinary ICE presences had emerged from other cities by Sunday afternoon either.