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Immigration agents are planning to target newly settled migrant families, the majority of whom are without a criminal record.
Residents across the United States spent Saturday protesting across the country the impending raids by members of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), set to begin Sunday in 10 major U.S. cities, as announced by the federal administration.
From the White House, U.S. President Donald Trump stated Friday: “It starts on Sunday, and they're going to take people out, and they're going to bring them back to their countries, or they're going to take criminals out—put them in prison or put them in prison in the countries they came from.”
ICE agents are planning several major raids that will to target newly settled migrant families, the majority of whom are without a criminal record, National Public Radio reports, adding that the raids will likely continue until July 18.
Collateral arrests, arrests of migrant persons found at or around the scene unrelated to those targeted, will also be made, ICE agents said.
The operations will take place in New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco.
The raids were expected to begin in late June, however, Trump postponed them for political reasons while Congress was debating a US$ 4.6 billon financial support bill for his campaign-promised wall at the border with Mexico, and for surveillance operations in the southwest region.
Human rights activists are broadcasting emergency numbers so that migrants affected by the ICE raids can contact lawyers. Furthermore, they are implementing campaigns to train migrants on their rights.
Officials and organizations in each city are taking steps to mitigate the unwarranted arrests. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who has continued to speak out against the Trump administration's immigration policies and practices, says the city's police department will not cooperate with ICE in any way.
"That means that they will not team up with ICE to detain any resident. We have also cut off ICE access from any CPD (Chicago Police Department) databases and that will remain permanent," Lightfoot said Thursday.
Meanwhile in Miami, activists are setting up "safe sanctuary spaces in secret locations for those seeking to avoid being caught up in the raids," according to a local NPR outlet.
The roundups are just another Trump tactic in a long line of xenophobic anti-immigration tactics the president began upon taking office in 2017 that started with the Muslim ban where he tried to temporarily prohibit the entry of people, even U.S. residents, from several Muslim-majority countries.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence awkwardly avoided eye contact with detained, male migrants and asylum seekers in an overcrowded immigration detention center in McAllen, Texas where the Brown-skinned inmates are being held indefinately. Pence was making the visit after Democrats began to reveal earlier this month, through visits and videos, and now Congressional hearings, the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions the migrants are being held in that may violate U.S. and international laws.
In CNN footage of the Pence walk-through, migrants are seen standing with thermal covers. There are no beds, nor room for them in the facility.