miércoles, 15 de febrero de 2017

BREAKING : 680 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in ICE Raids and 75% Were Criminals

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched a series of targeted enforcement operations across the country. These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges.

ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility arrested more than 680 individuals who pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system. Of those arrested, approximately 75 percent were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including, but not limited to, homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, lewd and lascivious acts with a child, indecent liberties with a minor, drug trafficking, battery, assault, DUI and weapons charges.

The first immigration raids of the Trump era, explained

In North Carolina, a husband left his house to start a car, only to be handcuffed by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. In Los Angeles, a man was arrested at the Walmart where he worked. In Garden City, Kansas, whole apartments of people were fingerprinted and taken into custody.

They’re three of the more than 680 people that ICE agents around the country — from the Midwest to the Southeast, California to New York — have arrested in the past week. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, in a statement Monday, calls it“a series of targeted enforcement operations,” and maintains it’s no different from what ICE has done “for many years.” Critics call it a series of nationwide raids — and claim it’s the first step toward President Donald Trump fulfilling his promise to deport millions of unauthorized immigrants.
The reality is somewhere in the middle. Nothing that ICE did last week was unprecedented. But it feels different with President Trump in the White House — and that’s something that ICE agents and immigrants alike know all too well.
For the most part, last week’s raids wouldn’t have been out of place in the early years of the Obama administration. ICE agents didn’t (despite rumors to the contrary) set up street-level checkpoints to demand proof of citizenship of anyone in passing cars. They didn’t sweep through whole apartment buildings and arrest whole blocks’ worth of immigrants. They didn’t deliberately target immigrants simply for being in the country without papers.
What distinguished last week’s raids from the Obama era were three things: First, ICE agents broke with years of Obama-administration policy by making “collateral arrests” — arresting unauthorized immigrants who happened to be in the place they were raiding, even if they didn’t have a warrant for them. Second, the agency deliberately coordinated a series of nationwide raids, scooping up more people in less time than ICE raids typically do.
Finally, of course, President Obama — who spent much of his presidency attempting to reassure unauthorized immigrants that if they hadn’t committed crimes in the US, they were safe from deportation — isn’t in office anymore. In his place is a president who got elected promising a new, tougher era in immigration enforcement, one in which immigrants were more broadly targeted and ICE agents less restrained.
Last week’s raids don’t necessarily represent that new era yet. But it’s not surprising that they’re being seen that way.

What we know about last week’s raids

According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 680 immigrants were arrested in the past week — in regions spanning the country.
The New York Times reported Monday that 160 were arrested in the Los Angeles area, with another 40 or so arrested in the New York area. “An additional 200 were arrested last week in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina,” the Times reports, and “about 200 were arrested across Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin” (including Gardenville, Kansas).
Other enforcement sweeps were reported in the Baltimore and DC metro areas; in Austin, Dallas, and Pflugerville, Texas; in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; in Plant City, Florida; and elsewhere.
For the most part, the raids appear to have been targeted efforts to catch individual immigrants that ICE had gotten warrants to arrest. DHS’s statement claimed that “approximately 75%” of the immigrants arrested were “criminal aliens,” implying they had criminal convictions — though many of those convictions were almost certainly for minor crimes (or simply for reentering the country illegally).
Confusingly, another DHS official told the Washington Post that anyone who’d entered the country illegally or overstayed a visa counted as a “criminal alien” — but that definition would fit all 680 of the people arrested last week, not just 75 percent of them, so it doesn’t appear to be the definition used in the DHS statement.
Immigrants who had previously gotten orders of deportation also appeared to be targets in Los Angeles and Maryland.
But it’s also clear that when ICE agents encountered other unauthorized immigrants along with the person they were seeking — or when they didn’t find that person, but found other unauthorized immigrants instead — others were arrested too.
“They show you some sort of warrant and they go in and fingerprint everybody,” says Ambar Pinto, who manages a hotline for immigrants to report ICE activity to the advocacy network United We Dream. Anyone whose fingerprints reveal them to be unauthorized is arrested; “if there’s children in the house,” Pinto says, “they will leave the mother behind with an order to report to ICE for a check-in.”
In other cases, ICE agents have reportedly used aggressive tactics. Maria Fernanda Durand of the advocacy group CASA de Maryland reports that, instead of attempting to enter houses to serve warrants, ICE agents waited outside houses and arrested people when they left the house to go to work. In Maryland and elsewhere, ICE agents made arrests out of uniforms — or while wearing a vest that said ICE on the back, but, as Pinto says, “if they’re knocking on your door you can’t see that.”

The truth of the raids, however, has sometimes been overshadowed by rumors that sound much worse than anything that’s been documented — but that have ultimately been debunked.
There is no evidence of street-level “checkpoints” where ICE agents stop drivers to ask for proof of citizenship, though rumors of such checkpoints are ubiquitous. (The National Immigration Law Center, in a two-page document sent to its network warning them what to look for, didn’t include checkpoints in its list of “practices” in which ICE was engaging; advocates in Austin, where the checkpoints were most widely rumored, say they don’t exist.) Other, more specific rumors — like a widely-circulated Facebook post claiming that ICE agents in Kansas City planned to arrest immigrants on their way out of church — turned out to be baseless as well.

The current ICE raids may be more in line with the prior immigration policy than they seem

As a candidate and as president, Donald Trump has claimed that his predecessors didn’t do anything to enforce immigration law. He’s wrong. He’s actually continuing an era of aggressive enforcement that started under George W. Bush and continued under Barack Obama.
One of the key tactics used by both the Bush and Obama administrations was the immigration raid. Often, under Obama in particular, targeted “surges” were used to track down individuals who met enforcement priorities: immigrants who’d been convicted of crimes, immigration “fugitives” who had already been given orders of deportation, or people who’d been deported and re-entered the United States. In Obama’s last year in office, ICE conducted 18 “surges” (according to press releases on the agency’s site). In the biggest, a month-long sweep of several Midwestern states, it arrested 331 people. A Los Angeles raidnetted 112 immigrants in a week.
Obama used increased enforcement as a credibility-building tool with the public as he attempted to push Congress to enact an immigration overhaul that would have given millions of undocumented Americans a path to citizenship.
Trump, by contrast, appears to be using raids, and enforcement, as an end in themselves.
An executive order Trump signed in his first week in office redefined enforcement priorities to include, in practice, pretty much every unauthorized immigrant in the US.

But ICE is claiming that last week’s raids were in line with the old priorities issued by Obama — and that the raids were just a continuation of what the agency has been doing.
On a press call, ICE officials in Los Angeles claimed that, of the 161 arrests they made, “all but 5 would’ve been people we would’ve prioritized for enforcement previously.” Another ICE official told the Times, “The president has been clear in saying that D.H.S. should be focused on removing individuals who pose a threat to public safety, who have been charged with criminal offenses, who have committed multiple immigration violations or who have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.” This sounds like the “priorities” issued by President Obama circa 2011 — not the ones issued by President Trump in 2017.
ICE’s claims don’t exactly line up with the reports from advocacy groups on the ground — but they’re not that far off, either. Advocates claim that ICE is going after people that it could have deported in the past, but explicitly decided not to — like Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was deported from Arizona last week — or people who have years-old final orders of deportation.
Obama, in a November 2014 memo, told ICE agents to focus on people who’d been ordered deported since the beginning of 2014. Now, Pinto says, “they are going after anyone who has ever had a removal order.” That’s a shift from the most recent Obama administration policy — but it’s identical to the policy that the Obama administration carried out over its first term, in which any “fugitive,” no matter how long ago they were ordered deported, was a priority.

ICE agents are now free to make “collateral arrests” — something they’ve been demanding for years

When Kelly maintained in Monday’s statement that “The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis,” he wasn’t necessarily wrong.
But he was only telling half the story. His department has changed its policy toward the immigrants it’s not explicitly “focusing” on — which make up the overwhelming majority of unauthorized immigrants in the United States. To millions of immigrants and their communities, last week’s raids represented a potential threat of the type they hadn’t seen in years: the threat of becoming a “collateral” victim of an ICE raid simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The immigrants caught up in “collateral arrests” last week aren’t authorized to be in the US, but have never had a criminal record or been deported or ordered deported. In some cases, they happened to be in the same apartment as someone ICE was looking for. In others, ICE had the wrong address but fingerprinted and arrested anyone who was there anyway.
Collateral arrests were known to happen under the Obama administration. But generally, ICE agents were under instructions to arrest people identified in advance, and only those people.
Many rank-and-file ICE agents hated this.

In 2011, the president of the ICE union, Chris Crane, testified to Congress that agents “were not permitted to arrest or even speak to confirmed or suspected illegal aliens encountered in the field during operations, and were prohibited from running standard criminal record checks for wants and warrants.”
Crane testified before Congress that the policies were prohibiting ICE from “enforcing many laws enacted by Congress; laws they took an oath to enforce.” He cited them as evidence that the agency’s policy was being controlled by “powerful special interest groups that advocate on behalf of illegal aliens.” When his union backed Donald Trump for president in the 2016 election, it was in large part based on Trump’s promise to take the “handcuffs” off ICE agents and allow them to do their jobs the way they saw fit.

The raids were designed to send a message — and the rumors that followed were inevitable

The United We Dream hotline for immigrants to report ICE activity —which has been up and running for over a year — has never seen anything like last week.
“For the past six months,” Pinto says, “our average of calls” to the enforcement hotline “is 30 to 50 calls a month.” In the first 11 days of February, “we have had more than 214 calls,” Pinto told Vox — and “most” of those came during a 9-day period from February 3rd to February 11.
But February 2017 doesn’t yet hold the record for monthly call volume. That record belongs to January 2016 — when unauthorized immigrants around the country were panicked by reports of household raids directed by the Obama administration.
Those raids were designed to target only Central Americans (mostly families) who’d been ordered deported in the past 2 years and hadn’t left. Most unauthorized immigrants didn’t fit that description, but the traumatic nature of raids — and the knowledge that, if ICE agents did make collateral arrests, there would be no legal recourse — sent the entire community of unauthorized immigrants and their neighbors into a panic spiral for several weeks.
The Trump administration has shown no interest in quelling the fears of otherwise law-abiding unauthorized immigrants. To the contrary, the purpose of Trump’s executive order broadening immigration priorities was to make it easier to deport unauthorized immigrants — to turn Trump’s campaign declaration “Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation” into government policy.

Last week’s raids were, indeed, designed to reinforce that message. They wouldn’t have been so big, or so coordinated, if they weren’t. One ICE spokesperson told reporters that “the fact that they coincided is not entirely a coincidence;” a different official told the New York Times that the coordinated action was in the works for several weeks, and “New York was late to the game.”
Under Obama, ICE conducted one “surge” larger than the one conducted by Trump last week — it arrested 2,000 people over only a few days. But most enforcement “surges” were more likely to net 200 people over the course of a month. And the combination of nationwide, coordinated raids and collateral arrests is something immigrants didn’t see in the Obama era.
High-profile raids are designed to affect not only the people who are physically being arrested, but anyone else who could be in a similar position. They’re supposed to serve as a deterrent to anyone who might be considering coming to the US without papers, and to increase the pressure on anyone who is currently here and could be persuaded to leave.
But raids are an extremely blunt instrument for this purpose. Inevitably, they inspire fear in many, many more people than those who are likely to be targets. And where there is fear, rumors about raids can easily spread, putting vulnerable people on high alert.
This is especially true if people already used to living in fear of deportation. For immigrant communities, what they are experiencing today is simply a return to what they felt under George W. Bush in 2005, or when Obama was setting deportation records in 2010 while claiming he wasn’t deporting law-abiding unauthorized immigrants.
Now, as then, there’s nothing concrete that local leaders and advocates can offer immigrants to ensure they won’t be deported. Indeed, they have little ability to dismiss the worst rumors — because under Trump, no one knows what is possible.
While ICE agents did not, in fact, arrest people going to or from church in Kansas City, they could have. There’s a 2011 memo that tells ICE agents not to conduct enforcement activities at “sensitive locations” like churches and schools, but it’s not clear whether ICE is following that memo under Trump. In most cases, ICE agents weren’t sweeping through whole neighborhoods or stopping drivers at random — but there wasn’t anything stopping them from doing so, and no indication they won’t start in future.
CORRECTION: This article originally referred to the nonexistent city of Gardenville, KS instead of the real city of Garden City, KS. The author apologizes for her carelessness.

(Source: http://truthfeed.com, vox.com)

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