Twin Cities immigration arrests raise fears of 'new normal'

Pablo Tucker
February 17, 2017

Shortly before noon Friday, Austin City Councilman Gregorio Casar said in a statement on social media that his office had confirmed "a large amount of Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions in Austin".

He said that of the people arrested in Southern California, only 10 did not have criminal records.

He added that 75 percent of arrests, made since Wednesday, involved "criminal aliens" with convictions ranging from DUI to weapons charges to drug trafficking and more. "The focus of these enforcement operations is consistent with the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE's Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis".

Asked how ICE determines whom to arrest, Gilman said: "There's no list of the 12 million people who are here undocumented". And we agreed with then-President Barack Obama's November 2014 directive to deport immigrants who are here illegally and who pose a danger to our society and who have criminal convictions.

But ICE pushed back on how those reports spread, saying that the "reports of random sweeps are false, unsafe and irresponsible", adding that they put law enforcement personnel and communities in unneeded danger.

Roberts' stopped short of condemning the arrests, but suggests U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not been giving "accurate" and "timely" information to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police about their activities.

Walls countered the conflicting report, saying there were "no ICE raids today".

"It seems to me it's meant to send a message that this is a crackdown, this is a new administration, and there will be more enforcement actions in immigrant neighborhoods", she said. "The less due process we give people the more we turn into an authoritarian state", Hassan said.

"As a federal agency, ICE has jurisdiction and doesn't have to tell us when they are conducting operations in Austin", APD Interim Chief Brian Manley said Friday. Many of those arrested had prior felony convictions for "serious or violent offenses" including child sex crimes and assault.

It remains unclear exactly how many people ICE has arrested in the city in the past week, but ICE said Monday that it had arrested almost 100 people in both Carolinas.

Karla Navarrete, an attorney with CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said she and other immigration lawyers received a higher than usual number of calls from families of people arrested by immigration authorities.

The Trump administration is facing a series of legal challenges to his recent executive orders to crack down on undocumented immigrants and cities that appear resistant to his immigration policies.

Pastor Fred Morris looked out over his congregation Sunday as news ricocheted around the world that American authorities were rounding up immigrants in an enforcement surge that President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail.

Vela, who chairs the Congressional Border Caucus, said "this is like the travel ban;. they throw it out there without much thought, without analyzing it in terms of the real constitutional affects".

Of the other three, two were arrested because they had been deported previously and re-entered the country illegally, and the third one is "unlawfully present in the U.S".

People detained in Austin typically are taken to the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, southwest of San Antonio.

City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she expects more "dragnet raids" in NY and that they'll "destabilize communities and devastate families".

But she said officers went too far. Hassan said. "These are things that need to be talked about, need to be remembered". "We had memos that laid it out that said felons, people with significant misdemeanors, recent immigration violations". Still, despite the narrower focus, more than 2 million people were deported during Obama's time in office.

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