Don’t feel sorry for any of the deported and detained. The longer they’ve lived here, the longer they’ve been stealing from the American worker and taxpayer.
Excerpt from the Chicago Tribune
Pastor Fred Morris looked out over his congregation Sunday as news ricocheted around the world that American authorities were rounding up immigrants in an enforcement surge that President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail.
Parishioners did not smile as on any other Sunday morning. They stared down at their feet. Others didn’t attend at all.
“There is a dreadful sense of fear. It’s more than palpable. It’s radiating. People are terrified,” said Morris, whose United Methodist mission is in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Los Angeles. “They were just sitting there in stunned silence.”
For days, fear and confusion have gripped immigrant communities after word spread that federal agents were rounding up hundreds of immigrants in cities across the country. The scope of the operation remained unclear on Sunday.
Advocates and immigration lawyers scrambled to contain the panic and to organize seminars and social media campaigns to teach people their rights.
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said the efforts were “routine” and no different than the arrests carried out under former President Barack Obama that targeted those with criminal histories or multiple immigration violations.
But Trump took to Twitter to claim credit.
“The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise,” the president wrote. “Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!”
Immigration advocates said many immigrants are now afraid to send their children to school and afraid to go to church or work or the hospital. Panicked rumors spread as quickly as the truth.
“Every time so much as a white guy with a clipboard is walking around, everyone runs into their apartments and locks the doors,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said.
Trump signed an executive order days after taking office that made clear that almost any immigrant living illegally in America could be targeted.
Immigrant-rights groups cite the case of Manuel Mosqueda, a 50-year-old house painter, as an example of how they believe ICE agents in the new administration are again going too far.
During last week’s enforcement operation, ICE agents showed up at Mosqueda’s home in the LA suburbs looking for someone else. While there, they inquired about Mosqueda, learned he was here illegally and put him on a bus to Mexico.
Karla Navarrete, a lawyer for the advocacy group CHIRLA, said she sought to stop Mosqueda from being placed on the bus and was told by ICE that things had changed. She said another lawyer filed federal court papers and got a judge to stop the deportation. The bus turned around, and Mosqueda is now jailed in Southern California, waiting to learn his fate.
In Virginia, agents who went to an apartment Thursday looking for a wanted man picked up everyone else in the apartment too, except for one women with a baby in her arms, said Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director for Legal Aid Justice Center’s immigrant advocacy program in northern Virginia.
“Here’s what happens on the ground: Somebody knocks on the door, they ask for a name, the people are very scared,” said Tessie Borden, an advocate in Los Angeles. “Then they round everybody up and say ‘We’ll sort it out later.’ But sorting it out later may mean separating families and breaking down support systems for these folks.”
The message is getting out:
It’s still a drop in the bucket though.
ICE’s national office pushed back against the idea that anything was out of the ordinary.
“The rash of recent reports about purported ICE checkpoints and random sweeps are false, dangerous, and irresponsible,” the agency wrote in a statement about detentions in the Los Angeles area. “These reports create panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Individuals who falsely report such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support. “
Still, the agency acknowledged the “enforcement surge” in the Los Angeles area. During the five-day operation, ICE agents detained 160 people, all but 10 with “criminal histories,” according to a statement.
Immigrant rights advocates who keep a close eye on deportations said they’ve seen a clear uptick in arrests in multiple cities, including the deportation of Guadalupe “Lupita” García de Rayos, a mother of two U.S. citizens who came to the country at the age of 14, in Phoenix on Thursday.