Donald Trump's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents began massive deportation sweeps Thursday in Los Angeles and other cities around the country, only there's no indication that agents specifically targeted dangerous criminals. In the LA raids, Esther Yu Hsi Lee reports:
Advocates and lawyers said that ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations agents detained 134 immigrants at their workplaces and homes in a series of raids. They said that some people were picked up as “collateral arrest” after they opened their doors to agents who were not there to specifically arrest them. ICE agents allegedly requested to see identification from everyone and took in family members who were undocumented. (emphasis added)
The immigration sweeps are believed to have taken place across Southern California in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, San Bernardino, and Downey.
ICE agents denied detaining 100 people and a spokesperson insisted the raids targeted "individuals who pose a risk to our communities." Kind of like apprehending Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in Arizona Wednesday, a mom with American children whose only crime was getting caught in a workplace raid about a decade ago.
Or these sweeps in Austin, Texas: “Alvarado described her husband’s arrest like ‘he was being hunted. … She said they knew where he lived, his job, his morning route.’”
“What do I do now?” Reyna Alvarado said in Spanish. "I had to go to school and tell my daughter that they’ve taken her father away,” she added, while her forlorn 12-year-old, the youngest of the Honduran couple's three children clutched her mother as she spoke.
There’s also unconfirmed reports that ICE agents are trailing kids walking home from school to lead them to their parents.
Back to the Los Angeles raids:
Routine immigration operations typically detain three to five people — but a sweep across seven counties to round up people appears to be a direct consequence of Trump’s recent executive order that gives broad power for agents to detain immigrants, advocates said. [...]
Jorge-Mario Cabrera, the Director of Communications at the immigrant advocacy group Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), told ThinkProgress that the immigrants arrested this week were “low-priority.”
Cabrera said that, by late Thursday evening, lawyers were able to consult 16 people detained in the raids who do not in fact have criminal records. One of those detainees has two U.S.-born children, no criminal background, and has spent years living in the United States. Another one was considered a “gang member” simply because of old speeding tickets and tattoos.
One LA attorney who went to the ICE offices to represent immigrants who had been detained said some detainees may have been immediately deported.
An ICE officer told her that one of the people she represents — a father to three children who are U.S. citizens who was likely eligible for a green card — had been deported. But Navarrete couldn’t confirm that because she was denied entry to physically see him. “We don’t know because we don’t believe them,” she said. She is now working to file a stay for the man.
This is how Trump is making America safe again—detaining and deporting people with traffic tickets and tattoos as well as parents of U.S.-born children who have been doing their best to keep their families fed. He’s going to create a generation of American kids who grow up without their parents. Nothing could make America greater than that.
UPDATE: Washington Post added some good reporting here:
U.S. immigration authorities launched a series of raids, traffic stops and checkpoints in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.
The raids, which appeared to target scores of undocumented immigrants, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
It also appeared to signal a departure from the Obama administration’s prioritized immigration enforcement against criminals.