The announcements of incursions by the Donald Trump administration against undocumented immigrants who have a deportation order have caused concern among foreigners in the United States. The operation is scheduled to begin this Sunday in nine major cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago or Houston, in order to arrest approximately 2,000 undocumented immigrants. It is a small part of the over 10 million undocumented people living in the United States, but the previous, unusual warning served to promote the image of the Republican. It is something that was not necessary: the images of immigrants crammed into border detention centers, which the vice president, Mike Pence, visited this Friday, were shouting.
"Don't open the door, don't talk to anyone at home, know that the agents don't have the right to enter." The advice on how to react if the immigration police (ICE, in its acronym in English) started running on social networks, even at the hands of NGOs and lawyers. The coordinated operations between different cities and for several days are not something exceptional: the unprecedented thing is that the executive himself is responsible for the warning days in advance.
Nor is the estimated number of foreigners to be sought more than a fraction of over a million who have the order of deportation but have remained. And the success of the measure is not clear, with so much previous announcement. But an effect has already been achieved: sowing fear.
The raids are expected in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco, while they were suspended in New Orleans from the arrival of Hurricane Barry. Most of them are cities of sanctuaries – in them, the local police do not cooperate with immigration controls or request information on their situation – and some municipal councils have already promised, in effect, to help stop the arrests.
"Let them know we're here to help them," said New York State attorney Letitia James, on the eve. His office provides interested parties with a telephone number where he offers legal assistance. The city of New York, for its part, has issued guidelines for the various agencies so that they do not cooperate with the agents of the ICE in the operation. The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, insisted that his city is a sanctuary and is firmly committed to preserving the identity of all citizens, regardless of the conditions in which they find themselves in the country.
Fear of arrests has also created psychosis. The New Sanctuary Coalition reported that there have already been two arrests in the Harlem and Sunset Park neighborhoods this Saturday and Blasio confirmed it on his Twitter account. However, the sources of some entities required caution, because some ICE devices may not have to do with the announced operation.
"The time has come to stop the expulsions, to end the illegal detention of families", asks the organization Judy Sánchez. "The time has come to join forces and demand that the government stop terrorizing people seeking asylum". Linda Rosenthal, who attended a vigil in front of immigration courts in Lower Manhattan, insists that "seeking asylum is not a crime. ICE cannot act as a paramilitary force." Heylts Murad insists on the New York Immigration Coalition that "it will do everything possible to defend the dignity and freedom of all immigrants and asylum seekers".
The operation comes at a time of growing tension due to the situation of migrants in detention centers, overwhelmed by the wave of arrivals of Central American families fleeing poverty and poverty. An official report already warned of the "time bomb" in which these structures were located, overcrowding and the long period of time in which they are detained. On Friday, McAllen, Texas, Mike Pence and the accompanying journalists could see about 400 men crammed together, without beds or mattresses, kept behind a fence with the appearance of being caged.
"President Trump wanted the cameras to be here to see firsthand how families were treated," Pence said. Far from wanting to cover the images, the Executive wanted to show them. For the democratic opposition, they are the proof of the inhuman treatment of the undocumented; for the Republican leader, proof that the situation is critical and that the Democrats must accept legislation that strengthens controls and strengthens border funding.
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