Fear grips immigrants across America amid nation-wide raids

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-15 17:57:11|Editor: Lu Hui
Video PlayerClose

by Peter Mertz

DENVER, the United States, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Washington's much-ballyhooed weekend sweep of major U.S. cities to arrest undocumented immigrants produced few of the desired results but left communities rattled.

U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to hit Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco failed to materialize as planned, according to media sources.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency's efforts to nab 2,000 immigrants who had been issued final orders of removal produced only a handful of arrests.

Meanwhile, local governments and relief agencies ramped up efforts to advise immigrants of their rights.


"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," Matthew Albence, ICE acting director, told Fox News Sunday.

In Chicago, a mother and her daughters were apprehended but the family was released under supervision, according to the New York Times.

The Times also reported Sunday that ICE agents attempted two arrests on Saturday in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn and a third in East Harlem, according to the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs.

As of Sunday evening, there were no reports of arrests in the Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In Florida, ICE agents were seen knocking on doors near Miami International Airport on Sunday and in the migrant farming community of Immokalee on Friday, but there had been no reports of arrests, said Melissa Taveras of the Miami-based Florida Immigrant Coalition.

Taveras told local media that migrant advocates were advising families to memorize the phone number of a relative or an attorney they could call if they were detained by ICE, and to ensure a relative knew their full name, date of birth and what location they're being taken to so that they could try to get released.

She said she has been in contact with migrant families hiding in their homes and that "it felt as though they were preparing for a storm."


"There's no relief, even if something was to not happen," Ariana Martinez, a coordinator with Faith in the Valley in Fresno of California told the local Sacramento Bee newspaper. "We have to be continuously on high alert."

Although Fresno was not on the list of cities expected to be targeted Sunday, undocumented residents still remain fearful of deportation, Martinez said.

"They really see this as something they need to continue doing every weekend. They're trying to figure out a way to keep this sustainable for the foreseeable future," Chicago WBEZ-TV reporter Maria Zamudio told National Public Radio (NPR) in Sunday edition.

But in Atlanta, where like many cities no arrests occurred, immigrants seemed uplifted by the weekend's lackluster results.

"The activists that I spoke to actually seemed kind of energized by today, I think, you know, partially because they didn't see a lot of activity, but they saw a lot of outpourings of support and a lot of people came out," WABE-TV reporter Johnny Kauffman in Atlanta told NPR.

"And so they really see it as an opportunity to continue to connect with the community, to continue to get people, like, politically activated and engaged," he said.

"And definitely, the sort of education efforts in terms of people's rights and how to deal with someone if ICE comes knocking. That is something that they're going to sustain for a long time," he said.