After High-Profile Immigration Arrests, Rumors Snowball Online

Photo: Charles Reed/AP Images.
After a week filled with immigration arrests in California and Texas, Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday morning that "the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!"

The Los Angeles Times reported that immigration advocates claim that "about 100 people had been taken into custody" after a raid in Southern California, stoking fears that this was a crackdown on an area that, according to the Pew Research Center, is home to "1 million immigrants without proper papers." The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles reported that 60 of the 100 people taken into custody were Mexican nationals.

Immigration officials, though, disputed Trump's words, saying that these recent arrests of undocumented immigrants were routine and not tied to any new crackdown. Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, released a statement explaining that ICE is not enforcing more aggressive tactics under President Trump but is keeping with their usual routine.

"Our operations are targeted and lead driven, prioritizing individuals who pose a risk to our communities. Examples would include known street gang members, child sex offenders, and deportable foreign nationals with significant drug trafficking convictions,” Kice wrote. “To that end, ICE’s routine immigration enforcement actions are ongoing and we make arrests every day.”
According to The Austin-American Statesman, Representative Joaquin Castro released a statement refuting this business as the usual message from ICE telling his constituents that "the agency’s San Antonio field office has launched a targeted operation in South and Central Texas as part of Operation Cross Check."

The Mexican Consulate in Austin confirmed to the Texas paper that 30 Mexican immigrants were detained by ICE on Friday and 14 were detained Thursday. In recent years, the Austin consulate had detained an "average of four to five Mexican immigrants."

“I am asking ICE to clarify whether these individuals are in fact dangerous, violent threats to our communities," Castro wrote in his statement. "And not people who are here peacefully raising families and contributing to our state. I will continue to monitor this situation.”

Local law enforcement throughout the country is also working to crack down on the spread of misinformation. The Los Angeles Police Department has publicly said they will not take part in any mass deportations. “There is information that is out there that is wrong,” Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Bob Green told the L.A. Times. “We are working hard with the immigrant communities to dispel fears.”

Austin's interim police Chief Brian Manley denied that his officers were helping ICE agents telling reporters his department is “100 percent focused” on community safety, no matter what your citizenship is. “It’s important that we don’t lose the trust we have worked so hard to build," Manley said of the Austin police department's relationship with the immigrant community.

According to The Statesman, Austin City Council Member Greg Casar will take emergency action to provide legal funding for the city’s immigrant community. Cesar has said that these "ICE actions are politically motivated and morally bankrupt." He has also said he believes these raids are retaliation against the city of Austin for standing up to Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has called for an end to sanctuary cities.

"ICE actions like these are beyond reprehensible," Greg Casar said in a statement. "They instill fear in the community, and they make everyday people fear for their lives."

reported that Atlanta was a target of the ICE raids, with "roughly 200 arrested." In the Midwest, "more than 200 arrests" were made in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Kansas, and Missouri. Earlier this week, an undocumented mother of two from Arizona was deported to Mexico after a routine visit with immigration services in Phoenix.

After NY1 had reported that "40 people in and around" New York City were arrested in an immigration raid, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that "New Yorkers should know that City officials, including the NYPD, will never ask about your immigration status."

To make sure undocumented immigrants know their rights, United We Dream is also offering printable directions of what immigrants should do if ICE comes to their door. They're offering versions in multiple languages including Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Arabic.

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