More personal stories are emerging from the more than 680 undocumented immigrants that have been arrested by ICE agents since last week. As we noted earlier today, these coordinated ICE sweeps have spread fear and uncertainty in families and communities across America.
While Donald Trump has claimed that he would target only “criminal aliens” for deportation, reports indicate that even immigrants with no criminal record were arrested in the sweeps. Vox’s Dara Lind notes this falls in line with an “executive order Trump signed in his first week in office,” which “redefined enforcement priorities to include, in practice, pretty much every unauthorized immigrant in the US.”
In the same piece, Lind writes that ICE agents are using aggressive tactics to apprehend undocumented immigrants, including “collateral arrests,” where ICE agents arrive to a residence with a warrant for one person in particular, and then end up arresting the entire household.
It’s no wonder why so many immigrant communities are fearful. More from Lind below:
In North Carolina, a husband left his house to start a car, only to be handcuffed by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. In Los Angeles, a man was arrested at the Walmart where he worked. In Garden City, Kansas, whole apartments of people were fingerprinted and taken into custody.
In other cases, ICE agents have reportedly used aggressive tactics. Maria Fernanda Durand of the advocacy group CASA de Maryland reports that, instead of attempting to enter houses to serve warrants, ICE agents waited outside houses and arrested people when they left the house to go to work. In Maryland and elsewhere, ICE agents made arrests out of uniforms — or while wearing a vest that said ICE on the back, but, as Pinto says, “if they’re knocking on your door you can’t see that.”
In Texas, one undocumented man was stopped and taken into custody by immigration on his way to work. From the Huffington Post:
In Austin, Angel Velazquez kissed her boyfriend Hugo before he went to work on Friday morning. He said he’d text her when he got to his job site, like he normally does.
Instead, she got a text a few minutes later in Spanish saying he’d been stopped by immigration authorities. “I was like, ‘Babe, don’t hang up, I’ll be there right away,’” Velazquez told The Huffington Post.
Velazquez, who is a U.S. citizen of Native American descent, rushed with her sister to the place where her boyfriend had been stopped, telling him on the phone as they drove not to answer questions, especially about his immigration status. When they found him, Velazquez said, she asked ICE agents for a warrant, but they responded that they didn’t need one.
Hugo was one of more than a dozen people in the area hauled off to immigrant detention over the last two days. Activists and elected officials in Austin said ICE had stopped undocumented immigrants in traffic, attempted to arrest them in their homes and patrolled the area around an HEB grocery store in the northwestern part of the city.
“This is retaliatory and it is a way to provide political cover ― ‘Look what we’re doing, we’re out there being tough on criminals’ ― when in reality, they’re breaking up families,” Rep. Raul Grijalva told the outlet. “It’s callous and it’s very, very dangerous.”