Donald Trump’s immigration forces are reported to still be out in full force, sending fear and panic throughout immigrant communities across the country.
The Washington Post reports that federal agents recently fanned out across several states conducting sweeping raids and making good on an unwavering campaign pledge Trump made to create an active and aggressive “deportation force.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have taken to the street en mass over the last several days, prompting widespread complaints of random stops of immigrants and full-fledged sweeps of locations where undocumented immigrants are known to frequent in wide numbers.
Agents this week reported more than 200 arrests spread across six states, many of them conducted by officials working out of the government’s Chicago office. At least another 160 people were detained in Los Angeles and raids were also conducted in the heavily immigrant-populated metropolises of New York and Atlanta.
All the targeting moved members of the Congressional Hispanic Congress to demand an emergency meeting with acting ICE boss Thomas D. Homan.
ICE officials have publicly claimed there is no more focus on rounding up immigrants now than there typically is at this time of year, despite Trump’s on-the-record pledge to deport as many as 3 million immigrants beginning in the early stages of his presidency.
Beyond taking a hardline stance on immigration, Trump also made a pledge to build a wall along the Mexican border to further keep immigrants out of the country, which was one of the primary staples of his campaign platform.
Since taking office last month, the newly elected Republican president has wasted little time making good on his promise.
Late last month, he used an executive order to enact a ban prohibiting travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations from entering the U.S. Even after the ban was ruled unconstitutional, Trump sought to have the ban reinstated before an appeals court judge agreed with the lower court’s decision.
Since then, Trump has hinted at a plan to craft other executive orders he insists stand to make the country a safer place.
“Donald Trump has effectively created a way to deport individuals who have been accused, charged or convicted of anything from murder to jaywalking,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). “And if you read the text of that executive order broadly, that applies to all noncitizens. I can tell you, the possibilities have made a lot of people here shudder.”
Under the Obama administration, priority deportees only included those who had been convicted of murder and other violent crimes, as well as certain drug offenses and gang involvement.
Entering the country illegally, in and of itself, is considered a misdemeanor crime.
Meanwhile, KTLA in Los Angeles reported immigration advocates and supporters took to the streets near the Metropolitan Detention Center in the downtown area, where some of the first of the sweeps and detainments took place.
Protesters chanted “no hate, no fear,” as they stalled traffic along Alvarado Street.
Humane Immigrant Rights of L.A. communication director Jorge-Mario Cabrera insisted that of the 100 or so people taken into custody, many of them were either people with deportation orders but no criminal background, or family members of those sought who were home during the raids and told officials they lacked documentation.
Reports are another man was detained while at work at a Target store in the San Fernando Valley, even though police officials insisted the department was not aware of any raids scheduled to take place in that area of the state.
Raids were also carried out at homes in Santa Paula, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Downey, and San Bernardino, leading to at least 100 people held at an ICE processing center in downtown Los Angeles.
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]