At least two immigration raids were conducted in New York neighborhoods on Saturday, just one day after President Trump said Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would begin a nationwide roundup of people living illegally in the United States, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Federal ICE agents canvased homes in the Harlem section of Manhattan as well a Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood according to the Journal’s source – who added that despite being turned away by many for lack of a warrant, the agency plans to return to Sunset Park tomorrow.
A spokeswoman for ICE in New York said that the agency won’t offer specific details related to enforcement operations. “As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” the spokeswoman said.
The attempted raids in New York come as Democratic city officials and community activists across the U.S. have been mobilizing for the planned roundup. –Wall Street Journal
This marks the second time plans for ICE raids have been leaked – the first of which has been blamed on Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and resulted in the cancellation of the planned raids.
“They’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries” said Trump on Friday, adding that the raids would focus on criminals – and that agents would “take criminals out, put them in prison, or put in them in prison in the countries they came from.”
The White House did not confirm the raids, but noted that there are more than one million people living in America illegally and in violation of court-ordered deportations.
“It is time for these people to go home,” said one administration official, who added that the roundups aren’t new – and in fact occurred during the Obama administration.
ICE officials announced Friday that they had concluded a weeklong operation in San Diego County that yielded arrests of 20 people. Most were sought on deportation orders and criminal convictions, but seven were picked up on immigration violations—the kind of “collateral” deportations that one administration official said would be included in the operation Sunday.
The raids are set to begin in 10 cities—many which have designated themselves as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants—Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco, said officials of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, a Texas-based nonprofit. Protests were held in many of the cities Friday and Saturday. –Wall Street Journal
Pro-illegal-immigrant groups have vowed to protect undocumented residents who they say fled violent countries and face possible harm if they are returned.
“This craven action may motivate his political base, but it does nothing to make us safer and only leaves migrants at further risk of abuse, disease, and death,” said Vanita Gupta, chief executive officer of the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights coalition.
Meanwhile, officials in various cities have been actively trying to help illegal immigrants avoid the feds. “In New York, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance encouraged undocumented New Yorkers to use free legal resources being made available throughout the weekend by the city. Mayor London Breed and other San Francisco officials offered help, including through a hotline to report raids,” writes the Journal.
Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot increased the city’s legal defense fund allocation for immigrants.