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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Members Slam ICE For Backing Out Of Meeting On Deportation Raids

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According to the Huffington Post, the Acting ICE Director backed out of a meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus members yesterday. Later that same day, Reuters broke the shocking news that the agency had arrested a DACA recipient in Seattle last week.

We’d be ashamed to show our faces too.

Advocates are currently fighting for the release of Daniel Ramirez Medina, who, despite having no criminal record and being thoroughly vetted by DHS in order to granted deferred action and a work permit, was taken into custody as a result of a series of nationwide ICE sweeps.

It’s this kind of chaos and disregard for the rule of law that CHC members wanted to address in their meeting with Acting Director Thomas Homan, but he instead claimed a Congressional rule required the meeting to be bipartisan, and chickened out.

“‘Bullshit,’ Rep. Grace Napolitano said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference when asked about ICE’s explanation for canceling,” notes the Huffington Post. More below:

She and other members said they knew of no such rule and that administration officials frequently meet with non-bipartisan groups of members.

The Democratic members said people in their communities are terrified about deportation actions that took place across the country last week. ICE officers arrested more than 680 immigrants in multiple states from Monday to Friday, officials said on Monday.

ICE claimed the arrests were part of “routine” and “targeted” enforcement actions, but immigrant rights advocates say they were more expansive than normal.

About 75 percent of those detained had criminal records, according to ICE, although the agency did not break down the types of crimes and how many were solely immigration-related. Democratic members said they asked ICE for that information to know how expansive the deportation efforts were.

Democrats are also worried that undocumented immigrants are being arrested as “collateral,” even if they aren’t ICE’s initial targets. The agency has not provided those figures.

These raids have struck fear in the hearts of the immigrant community as many fear that President Trump’s promised ‘deportation force’ is now in full-swing.

Under President Barack Obama, people convicted for crimes tied to being in the U.S. without authorization ― using a fake Social Security number, for example  ― were deemed less of a priority for deportation than people who committed more serious crimes. President Donald Trump’s recent immigration executive order, on the other hand, makes nearly any undocumented immigrant a removal priority.

Trump said Monday that he was following through on a campaign promise to drive out “the bad ones” among the undocumented population. “We’re getting them out, and that’s what I said I would do,” he said. “I’m just doing what I said I would do when we won by a very, very large Electoral College vote.”

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said Homan told her last week’s actions were part of a broader effort that could be aimed at anyone with a criminal record or suspected of criminal activity.

In a letter to Homan on Friday, she and several other House Democratic members said they had “serious concerns” about the raids.

“These raids have struck fear in the hearts of the immigrant community as many fear that President Trump’s promised ‘deportation force’ is now in full-swing,” the letter read. “It is critical that we meet with you in person immediately to discuss the impact these raids have had on our communities as well as obtain clarifying guidance on how ICE policies will differ from the last administration.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) said Democrats are concerned that ICE was sweeping up otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants in addition to dangerous criminals, whom they do support removing from the country.

“[Obama] had a priority to deport dangerous criminals and we didn’t disagree with that,” Lofgren said Tuesday. “Their further priority was if you found a dangerous criminal but the nanny lived next door and she was undocumented, you didn’t pick up the nanny also.”

Homan’s cancellation was another indication that “the Trump administration does not seem to believe in transparency or sharing information with Members of Congress,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who signed onto the letter, in an emailed statement Tuesday.

“The Trump people are clearly ducking accountability and oversight,” he said. “This is unacceptable as rumors and fear circulate within cities and towns across America and ICE is too busy to meet with the CHC or key Democratic leaders? That just doesn’t fly.”

The press conference from the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus following the cancellation of the meeting: