After September 11, the United States imposed stricter controls on immigration. This application led to the birth of Homeland Security and ICE, but what exactly is ICE? We explain
Just the FAQ, USA TODAY & # 39; HUI

DENVER – Fear and anxiety have spread to immigrant communities across the country as a result of federal raids to detain and deport thousands of people accused of remaining illegally in the United States.

Supporters of immigration reform said that raids should begin Sunday and at least Thursday, targeting communities around Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. San Francisco.

"It's almost like getting ready for a hurricane – it's the state of alarm that people are feeling," said Melissa Taveras of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, based in Miami. "People are asking: is it ok for us to go to work? Is it good to take our children to school? "

The searches are different from the routine detentions of Immigration and Customs, and advocates of immigrant communities claim that they are designed to sow terror and discord among the 2,000 or so families who should be targeted, particularly in the light of reports that some detainees were dying in detention.

"It's terrorizing the community," said Milli Atkinson, legal director of San Francisco's Immigrant Legal Defense Collaborative Group in San Francisco. "It's really going to impact our community, because with any detention, they separate men, women and children."

The Trump administration claims that the country's immigration laws have long been ignored and that stricter enforcement is needed as Congress has failed to enact a comprehensive reform of the country's immigration laws. # 39; immigration. The president said Friday that the raids would mainly target immigrants already convicted of other crimes.

In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock said the city police would avoid assisting ICE agents, but city social workers were on alert to help minor children left behind them if their parents were arrested.

In many cases, immigrants who do not have legal permission to stay in the United States have minor children who are US citizens. This puts the officials of liberal cities like Denver or San Francisco in the difficult position of opposing the ICE attacks themselves, while having to deal with the consequences.

"We will not put children in cages or leave them in inhumane conditions," said Hancock during a phone conversation with reporters on Friday morning. "Our job is to help these families as best we can."

Immigrant rights advocates claim that many of the people targeted for the raids received a "final removal order" but were never informed of the location or holding of the previous hearing and did not know have never attended.

In Houston, a city of 1.6 million immigrants and more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants, the FIEL Houston phone, an advocacy group for immigrants, rings continuously and five forums organized by the group since the announcement of the raids are standing. only, said Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL.

"There is a lot of tension in the community right now," he said.

FIEL has created a "Rapid Response Network", bringing together about 80 community members throughout the city who will alert the group if and when a raid takes place. The goal is to go to the scene of the raid, document the procedure and inform the targeted immigrants of their rights, said Espinosa. One of their biggest concerns is that undocumented immigrants who are not targeted by raids are swept away by the operations, he said.

"We hope nothing will happen," said Espinosa. "But if something happens, we prepare our community to be ready to react."

Elsewhere, lawyers prepared emergency leaflets and phone lines to alert immigrant communities about their rights, including seeking a court order to enter a private home. The lawyers said that CIE agents working on regular return files usually set up homes for their targets and waited for them to go to work, and that Sunday operations would be extremely unusual.

"Sometimes, with this administration, there are so many attacks that [undocumented migrants] I think there is no recourse, "said Shannon Camacho of the Humane Immigrant Coalition of Los Angeles. Do not open your door. Keep quiet. They must not provide any information to ICE, and ICE can not enter their homes without a judicial warrant signed by a judge. Most of the time, they do not have these mandates. "

In New York, the New York branch of the New Sanctuary Coalition and the New York Immigration Coalition planned a rally on Friday night against the southern border detention camps and the planned ICE raids.

"If ICE will perhaps do more than it will do this weekend, the reality is that immigrant communities have been living in this kind of fear for two and a half years. years, "said Anu Joshi, senior director of immigrant rights policy at the New York Immigration Coalition.

The Coalition, which represents more than 200 member organizations in New York State, has partnered with local organizations on "ongoing" training courses on awareness of your rights for immigrant and other communities. educational services.

"It's not just during the raids that people need to know their rights," Joshi said. "For two and a half years, ICE has been interested indiscriminately in people."

Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Immigration Affairs, has condemned the planned raids during an interview Friday morning with NY1, the cable news channel of the city, open 24 hours a day.

"You have to call it that and make it clear that it is deplorable and cruel," said Mostofi. "You talk about creating fear and deterring people who in some cases have been here for decades, as well as others who have families and children of American citizens. It's a good time for us, as a city and community members, to make sure we empower our communities, to make sure you have rights, no matter what your immigration status, and that you can access free and secure legal support for the city funded. "

In Atlanta, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms called Friday's attacks "undesirable".

"The White House is worsening an already burgeoning humanitarian crisis with detention centers," Bottoms said in a statement. "If they really want to help the cities, they should ask us what we need because the political show of force will only hurt – and no."

Many large American cities, including Los Angeles, Denver, Seattle and Miami, have declared themselves "sanctuaries" for undocumented immigrants and have adopted policies prohibiting local government officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. Federal raids threaten to break the close ties between local police and immigrant communities, said Hancock, reducing the risk of undocumented immigrants seeking help or testifying in court against criminals violent.

On Friday, the mayor of San Francisco, London Breed, reiterated that the city police would not cooperate with any ICE operation and that the city was preparing to protect its immigrants. "If you want to follow them, you will have to go through us," she said.

Contribute: Rick Jervis in Houston, Elizabeth Weise in San Francisco, Kevin McCoy in New York, Jared Weber in Los Angeles, Nicquel Terry Ellis in Atlanta and Alan Gomez in Miami.

Read or share this story: