By Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA – On Sunday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continued a series of raids in ten major cities including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, and San Francisco targeting about 2,000 people with final deportation orders.
The raids on New Orleans and Houston will reportedly be postponed because of Tropical Storm Barry. “I can’t help but feel like we are waiting for the other shoe to drop,” Adonia Simpson, director of family defense for the non-profit Americans for Immigrant Justice told the Miami Herald. “Given the anxiety I have been feeling, I can only imagine the fear our immigrant communities feel this morning.”
Meantime, President Donald Trump was on twitter telling four Congresswomen – Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar to “Go Back” to their “Broken” Countries.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” Trump tweeted, apparently oblivious of the fact that they are all American citizens.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has refused too co-operate with ICE. Immigrant families are stockpiling food and sheltering in place. Advocates and Civil Liberties Union are coaching immigrants on their rights, including instructions on how to respond if agents knock on the door with special emphasis on warrant (s) signed by a judge.
President Trump ordered ICE to conduct sudden raids that will terrify immigrant families and communities, instead of seeking legislative solutions to the real issues within the immigration system.
Republican mayor Francis Suarez of Miami released a statement expressing concern over the impending threat, affirming that “[Miami is] a city of immigrants. … I trust that only those individuals who represent a clear and present danger to our communities will be affected by this Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy.
Democratic mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta condemned these policies, telling CNN, “This cruel policy is not the solution to a broken immigration system.”
Raids are also incredibly damaging to local economies. Experts have predicted that mass deportation will lead to a mass labor shortage in many sectors of the economy, including agriculture and major distribution chains.
Ice was created in 2003 when the Bush administration reorganized a number of federal agencies in response to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and placed them under the brand-new Department of Homeland Security. Ice, which now employs over 20,000 people, is one of three agencies that absorbed and assumed the functions of the now defunct Immigration and Naturalization Service and the United States Customs Service.
In January 2017, the president signed an executive order to increase the agency’s staffing by 10,000 employees. The order also vastly expanded Ice’s immigration enforcement powers.
The agency also houses a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit which targets major border-related crimes such as the trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings, as well as a much smaller legal services department.
Under the operation which ICE said would send a “powerful message” of deterrence to would-be migrants in Central America considering journeying towards the US-Mexico border authorities had been expected to carry out a series of raids in major US cities to apprehend and deport families who received an order of removal from a judge.
The large-scale deportation blitz is also likely to spark massive public outcry and public demonstrations, coupled with president Trump sticking points to suspend aid to Central America, the administrations immigration and trade policy; and the political tactic to drum up support from his nationalist base, “to build that wall”.