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Hundreds Apprehended in More than a Half-Dozen U.S. Cities in Immigration Law Crackdown

Friday, February 10, 2017 20:17
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Hundreds of people have been apprehended in at least a half dozen states by federal agents as part of a Trump administration crackdown on people in the country without proper paperwork.

According to a Washington Post report this afternoon, immigrants without criminal records are also being “netted.”

“Last month [Trump]….made a change to the Obama administration’s policy of prioritizing deportation for convicted criminals, substantially broadening the scope of who the Department of Homeland Security can target, to include those with only minor offenses or those with no convictions at all,” the Post reports.

This week, the L.A. area, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and North and South Carolina have all seen action from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, though the Post notes that a spokeswoman for them doesn’t like the term “raids” and calls them “routine” and “targeted enforcement actions.”

That spokeswoman insisted, said the Post, that a “majority” captured this week were “serious criminals, including some who had been convicted of murder and domestic violence.” An ICE field director in L.A. said that 75 percent of the 160 people grabbed had felony convictions, and 37 of them had already been deported to Mexico.

From the Post:

A video that circulated on social media Friday appeared to show ICE agents detaining people in an Austin shopping center parking lot. Immigration advocates also reported roadway checkpoints, where ICE appeared to be targeting immigrants for random ID checks, in North Carolina and in Austin. ICE officials denied that authorities used checkpoints during the operations….

Some activists in Austin and Los Angeles suggested that the raids might be retaliation for those cities’ so-called “sanctuary city” policies. A government aide familiar with the raids said it is possible the predominantly daytime operations — a departure from the Obama administration’s night raids — meant to “send a message to the community that the Trump deportation force is in effect.”

A DHS official acknowledged that “given the broader range defined by Trump’s executive order they also were sweeping up non-criminals in the vicinity who were found to be lacking documentation.”

What that means is that many people who have done nothing to harm anyone are having their lives, and the lives of their families, employers and employees, friends and communities disrupted or ruined at public expense for no good reason.

Huffington Post reports that:

Activists and elected officials in Austin [Texas] said ICE had stopped undocumented immigrants in traffic, attempted to arrest them in their homes and patrolled the area around an HEB grocery store in the northwestern part of the city….

Grassroots Leadership, an immigrant rights group, has meanwhile received calls from about 20 different people’s families on its hotline.

Heavy quotes an ICE press release that in fiscal 2016, 240,255 people total were deported.

While ICE spokespeople in various stories insist, given that context of an organization that is always working to deport people, that there is nothing untoward or unusual about this week’s operations, the Austin-American Statesman reports:

The Mexican Consulate in Austin has confirmed to the American-Statesman that 30 Mexican immigrants were detained by ICE on Friday and 14 were detained Thursday. By comparison, the Austin consulate had seen an average of four to five Mexican immigrants detained daily in recent years.

Other immigration activists or lawyers in other cities have also expressed to the press that what’s happened this week is of a level of intensity above normal.

The Orange County Register on arrests, and protests, in Southern California.

Fusion notes that scattered rumors and tweets about literal checkpoints in the L.A. area have been completely denied by ICE.

Anthony Fisher from earlier today on Trump’s immigration crackdown executive order, focused on its potential effect on veterans.


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