A Massachusetts lawmaker is under fire for spreading what looks like to be fake news about immigration raids. Democratic State Rep. Michelle DuBois took to Facebook to warn illegal immigrants about federal immigration agents conducting raids in Brockton. She said a “a friend in the Latin community” told her that this was happening. It’s not (via Fox 25 Boston):
‘If you are undocumented don't go out on the street. If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don't know who it is, don't open the door. I ask you to be careful,’” the post said, quoting DuBois friend.
DuBois updated that post several times throughout the day, and at 10 a.m. added the line “To be clear: I am just forwarding a rumor that is all over Brockton. Actually I'm helping ICE to know (if they didn't already) that the raids they are planning are already known about in the City.”
Her comments were criticized by many people, including the Bristol County sheriff, who said DuBois’ remarks potentially violated federal law under the charge of harboring anyone known to be in the country illegally.
“To have chosen consciously to violate her oath and put more interest in protecting illegals, potentially criminal illegals, and certainly criminal illegals if ice were involved in this initiative, over the safety of her citizens that put her there, she needs to step down," Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said.
Here’s the post in full:
ICE raid in Brockton on 3/28 and 29th
If you get picked up by ICE call legal services direct line for immigration help: 774-488-5961
I got the following information from my friend in the Latin community:
"I have a message for the immigrant community of Brockton. Please be careful on Wednesday 29. ICE will be in Brockton on that day.
If you are undocumented don't go out on the street. If there is a knock on the door of your house and you don't know who it is, don't open the door. I ask you to be careful."
Update: It is obvious that this post has touched off a lot of controversy.
To be clear: I am just forwarding a rumor that is all over Brockton. Actually I'm helping ICE to know (if they didn't already) that the raids they are planning are already known about in the City.
I hope we can work on all the other issues together and that this one difference of opinion does not hurt our working relationship.
Public Response at 2:33pm 3/28 to this Facebook post:
"It is obvious that my Facebook post touched off a lot of unintended controversy.
I am an elected State Representative and the response to one facebook post has caused people from across the Nation to inundate my facebook page with some pretty ugly and threatening posts. If this is what happens to an elected representative - what must be happening to immigrants every day in our Nation, both documented and not documented.
I posted on my personal and public facebook page about a rumor about an ICE raid happening on two future dates. I had heard this rumor from several immigrants in the community.
There are many people in Brockton (documented and not) as well as people across this Nation who are terrified. This rumor of an ICE raid in Brockton was wide-spread in Brockton. There have been many ICE raids in the City.
Passing information along that is already all-over the community, not only lets the people I represent know what is happening, it lets ICE know that everyone in Brockton is aware of ICE's planned raid (if there was one).
Having ICE know that this rumor is wide-spread in Brockton allows them to change the date if they feel the public's knowledge of the raid would undermine their planned raid. So I do not agree with Sheriff Hodgson on his point that he made before a federal panel in WashingtonDC that my public facebook post in anyway undermines law enforcement."
When confronted, Dubois said that she has no regrets. The local news outlets noted that Dubois was growing increasingly agitated with the reporters asking questions about the incident, eventually saying, “Why are you harassing me? Literally I think I need to get a restraining order.” Since Dubois was triggered by the confrontation with the press, the Boston Globe reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn’t release information on future operations, but they did tell them that they don’t do random sweeps, like the one Dubois was referring to in her social media post:
“Any person who actively incites panic or fear of law enforcement is doing a disservice to the community, endangering public safety and the very people they claim to support and represent,” Shawn Neidauer, a spokesman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in a statement.
“For operational security reasons, ICE does not release information regarding future operations,” Neudauer said.
“ICE does not conduct random sweeps, checkpoints or raids that target aliens indiscriminately. All ICE operations are targeted based on investigative leads,” he said.