ICE Raids Round Up and Terrorize Immigrants Across the Country—
This Offensive Must Be Resisted
February 13, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
In cities across the country, in the first weeks of the fascist Trump/Pence regime, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have been rounding up and terrorizing immigrants. In response, different people and groups have been taking righteous stands. Here are some examples:
Shaun King, senior justice writer at the New York Daily News and a major voice on social media, sent out this retweet:
The United We Dream organization, an immigrants rights nonprofit based in DC, has put out a call #HereToStay Network where people sign on to a pledge saying: “I am ready to support immigrants at risk of deportation by the Trump regime. I pledge to physically show up for immigrants in my community when they need me...” Over 21,400 have signed up as of February 12.
An Indian-American writer and New York Times columnist, Anand Giridharadas, said in a series of tweets: “The raids have begun. There are reports of agents going door-to-door seeking people’s papers. This is not a test... Yes, we have a Fourth Amendment. But some of our most vulnerable neighbors, in this most frenzied moment, may not correctly assert rights. We are closer than we think to large numbers of Americans sheltering and hiding neighbors. I never dreamed I’d live in such an America. This is getting grave fast. Faxing to reps, giving to the ACLU, lobbying Nordstrom were first steps. But how does a free people resist ICE?”
The following is some background around the raids by Trump’s ICE gestapo:
Since Wednesday, February 8, ICE has been carrying out a surge of attacks on immigrants in at least the following: Los Angeles; New York City; Chicago; Atlanta; North Carolina; South Carolina; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Florida; Kansas; and Washington, DC.
In Phoenix, a 36-year-old mother of two was arrested inside the U.S. immigration office after she had reported to them, just as she had been doing every six months for several years. Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos had lived in this country for 22 years, coming here with her parents when she was 14—only weeks after the cut-off date for those who qualified for deferred deportation that Obama put in place. In order to take her away, ICE agents had to force their way through 100 or more immigrant rights defenders who had mobilized immediately after word went out and blocked the van with their bodies. Seven protesters were arrested, and Guadalupe was driven directly from the Immigration office to the Mexican border and deported.
In the Los Angeles area, ICE arrested at least 160 immigrants. One Department of Homeland (DHS) official said about those arrested, “We’re talking about people who are threats to public safety...” and that the majority of those detained were serious criminals, including some who had been convicted of murder. But in fact many of the people targeted had simply been facing deportation orders but had no criminal background. And on top of that, ICE also arrested people who were simply in the same home who lacked documents. Close to 200 protesters responded rapidly to oppose the raids as word broke out. They blocked the driveway in downtown LA where ICE buses were trying to leave; and then they marched to and blocked the nearby entrance to the 101 Freeway.
In other parts of the country, similar stories have been told, exposing that what ICE is doing is not limited to “targeting criminals,” but is arresting anyone they get their hands on who is undocumented. A regional field director for CASA (Court Appointed Support Advocates) in Baltimore County, Maryland, said, “We’re not trying to sow hysteria here,... But it is fair to say we are seeing new tactics across the county.” One small group of people was stopped by ICE agents after they left a courthouse where they had gone to pay a driving ticket. And people reported being arrested after showing up for check-in meetings with the authorities, similar to what took place in Phoenix. In an area inside the DC Beltway, ICE targeted a community of garden apartments where more than 1,000 Latino immigrants live. Twice in one week, ICE staked out one of the apartment complexes and arrested men as they were leaving for work.
An immigration lawyer in Atlanta said she had heard reports of ICE agents going door-to-door in one largely Latino neighborhood asking people to present their papers. A video from Austin that circulated on social media appeared to show ICE agents arresting people in a shopping center parking lot. It was also reported that there were roadway checkpoints where ICE agents were targeting immigrants for random ID checks. After a week of DHS officials claiming that none of this was the result of Trump’s order, the fascist-in-chief sent out a tweet: “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
Amnesty International USA released a statement February 11 condemning the raids and calling for their suspension: “It is a violation of human rights to tear families apart through deportation,” Amnesty International executive director Margaret Huang said in a statement: “We call for an immediate pause in these raids and a suspension of this executive order in order to ensure that people’s human rights are protected.”
In a matter of days, these gangsters have struck terror in the hearts of millions and millions of people of this country who happen to be immigrants. The nightmare that so many people, children as well as parents have been living with for years is coming true. Families torn apart. Children not going to school for fear their parents will be taken away. Refugees from Central America whose claims have been denied now facing a far greater likelihood of being deported and being sent to their likely death.
This situation demands that people everywhere respond—to take a stand and act. These immigrants under vicious attack are our people—their humanity, and our own, are at stake. We have to stand shoulder to shoulder with them—NOW!
If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.