The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning a series of raids in key cities, all in an effort to target at least 2,000 undocumented migrants, per a New York Times report from July 11. But the scope of the initial raid may spread far wider, as officials told the Times the raids may also result in “collateral” deportations of other migrants in the targeted locations. And, of course, there’s the secondhand fear that these raids create for other migrants, as well as the American citizens who love them, which pervades every aspect of their daily lives.
The raids are reportedly set to begin on Sunday, July 14, in at least ten cities; they are seen as the resumption of a planned raid that was seemingly postponed at the last minute by President Donald Trump in June. Per Vox, the raids were set to take place in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco, which are all cities with significant minority and immigrant communities; of them, only Denver is situated more than 100 miles from a border, making it outside of the jurisdiction of Customs and Border Patrol. The Times report also quotes officials who said that “agents have expressed apprehensions about arresting babies and young children,” and says that if families are apprehended, they may be held in hotel rooms if there is not enough space in family detention centers.
When reached for comment by MTV News, ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke said, “Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”
The agency did not respond to specific questions regarding agency protocol for child immigrants, or minors who were citizens and might be impacted if their parent or guardian was targeted in the raids, nor did it respond to request for comment about how the agency plans to carry out these raids given the substantial overcrowding and life-threatening conditions of many detention facilities.
Trump had initially tweeted that the government planned to begin mobilizing on what he called “millions” of undocumented immigrants; at the time CNN reported that ICE acting director Mark Morgan saw the raids and subsequent deportations as a means to deter would-be migrants from attempting to enter the country. (The Center for American Progress notes that other xenophobic tactics, like the inhumane detention centers and the practice of family separation that has resulted from the administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy, have not deterred either families or individual migrants, from attempting to cross the U.S./Mexico border.)
In a press conference on Thursday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a press conference in which she addressed the reported raids, and commented on the need for immigrants to know the rights available to them. Specifically, she spoke to the limitations of ICE warrants, which do not allow agents entry into a home without prior permission. Other politicians, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar tweeted about the planned raids; the night before, Representative Ayanna Pressley tweeted about a detained woman in ICE custody who is reportedly not receiving proper medical care for a serious condition.
Advocacy groups stress that immigrants have the right to not open the door, speak to anyone, or sign any documents; as well as the right to ask for an attorney. As Zenén Jaimes Pérez, the advocacy director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, told MTV News in June, “Even if you do not fall into a directly affected category, if you’re able to speak about the issue, if you know a little bit more about what is happening, that helps in a broader goal of people understanding the opaqueness of the immigration system.” It’s likely that the people who need this information most may not even be on social media to see it; to that end, allies can signal boost the information by keeping an eye out in their community, and alerting people who may need the information but might not have it.