President Trump ran for president on a platform of combating illegal immigration and he is keeping true to his word. He launched a series of roundups of illegal immigrants yesterday and late Saturday night, something that was in the works a few weeks ago but had been postponed due to all the publicity. He says millions will be deported, but so far it looks like 2,100 will be targeted in at least 10 major cities over the next few days. Of the approximately 10.5 million illegal immigrants living in the country, approximately 1 million have final deportation orders.
Many of the illegal immigrants won’t be at the addresses on file with ICE because they’ve heard about the raid and are hiding. However, other illegal immigrants who are discovered while doing the targeted arrests may be arrested, known as “collateral” deportations.
The targeted illegal immigrants have been given due process in the immigration court system. They were ordered to appear in court for a hearing about removal. Some of them never bothered to show up for their court date. ICE followed up with letters to them in February, giving them the opportunity to be orderly removed, but only 3 percent responded. Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said they “received due process more than any other nation in the world would provide someone that came here illegally.”
The ACLU filed a preemptive lawsuit in federal court to stop the deportations, claiming bureaucratic errors could lead to some illegal immigrants not being provided due process. "Even when the government sent notices to the right address for a real hearing, it repeatedly sent them too late, for locations unreasonably far from immigrants' homes," the ACLU said. "Notices thus arrived either after the date set for a hearing or just a few days before, requiring indigent families to immediately travel across the country to hearings in distant states."
The raids are being done to deter others from illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. They were done under previous administrations. But the media and activists are hypocritically drawing more attention to the raids under Trump.
Activists are instructing illegal immigrants not to open their doors if ICE shows up. ICE agents are not legally allowed to forcibly enter a home. Protests started on Friday and continued throughout the weekend. A man was fatally shot Saturday after he was caught with a rifle throwing homemade incendiaries at the building and vehicles in an ICE parking lot in Tacoma, as well as attempting to ignite a propane tank. The leftist Facebook group Indiana Progressive Liberals called him a hero and said “Rest in power freedom fighter.”
Some of the mayors in the targeted cities said they will not cooperate with ICE. The New Jersey attorney general instructed law enforcement not to assist ICE with the raids. But two county sheriffs in the state got around the directive by renewing agreements with ICE right before the directive deadline date.
Faith leaders participating in The Resurrection Project in Chicago called on their congregations to "defend, block and witness." A Jewish advocacy group called Never Again Action said they intend to shut down the ICE office in Atlanta through a protest on Monday. In Miami, activists are setting up "safe sanctuary spaces in secret locations for those seeking to avoid being caught up in the raids." The New York Immigration Coalition has posted numerous flyers instructing illegal immigrants on how to deal with ICE. Some organizations have set up hotlines so people can report ICE activity.
The illegal immigrants are trying to hide from the law. They refuse to admit they’ve broken the law. ICE agents raided an apartment building in Brooklyn on Saturday. A woman who lives there, Enisa Marie Jimenez, said she went around the building knocking on people’s doors telling them not to answer the door for ICE. She said, "They’re innocent people that cause no trouble, no harm, and they’re all scared.” But how are they innocent if they’ve broken the law?
One illegal immigrant who spoke with CNN on condition of anonymity said the fear has become exhausting and makes her wish she could go back to Nicaragua. This doesn’t make any sense. Why not respond to the deportation order and get a free trip back to your home country then?
Previous deportation operations under President Obama resulted in arrest rates of only 10% or lower. Trump’s efforts may be partly thwarted by immigration lawyers filing motions to reopen the immigration cases of those arrested. Regardless, the raids are a good start and should serve as a deterrent to others thinking about breaking the law.