Immigration advocates say ICE is ramping up home raids

A new report by an immigrant rights organization claims “targeted enforcement operations” have increased over the last few months in an effort to detain and…
Immigration advocates say ICE is ramping up home raids

Immigration advocates across the country have reported an increase in the number of home raids conducted by immigration officials. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

A new report by an immigrant rights organization claims “targeted enforcement operations” have increased over the last few months in an effort to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

These targeted enforcement operations come in the form of home raids.

The report released Wednesday by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) stresses that advocates and community members across the country have reported an increase in the number of home raids. They claim that during these raids, immigration officials go into homes looking for an individual and end up making “collateral arrests” of people with old criminal convictions or prior deportation orders.

“Before, ICE used to round people up in the community. Now, they go to people’s houses,” Fernando Lopez, an organizer with the New Orleans Congress of Day Laborers, said in the report. “They show them a picture of a person they usually don’t know. Even if the person isn’t there, everyone in the house still gets fingerprinted using the biometric machines.”

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The report comes a few weeks after President Barack Obama postponed taking executive action on immigration until after the November 4 elections. The report claims that while the president delays action, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are engaging in “aggressive tactics” to go after undocumented immigrants.

“It’s like someone eating all the ice cream in the freezer on Sunday knowing they’re going on a diet on Monday,” an unnamed person said in the report. “ICE is more out of control than ever.”

Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for ICE, confirmed in an email to VOXXI that targeted enforcement operations have expanded in some areas, especially those where local law enforcement agencies are not honoring ICE detainer requests on individuals arrested on criminal charges.

“While it’s true that jurisdictions not honoring ICE detainers has resulted in an increase of fugitive operations in the field, the agency is focused, first and foremost, on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal individuals who pose the greatest threat to public safety,” Christensen said.

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She also explained that ICE makes detainer requests on individual arrested on criminal charges “to ensure that dangerous criminals are not released from prisons or jails and into our communities.”

But Chicago attorney Mony Ruiz-Velasco argues that there’s “clear evidence” that ICE is detaining and deporting individuals who shouldn’t be considered an enforcement priority. She pointed to her client, Javier Nava, as an example. Immigration officers came into Nava’s home on September 11 and arrested him.

“I was arrested for not having a driver’s license,” Nava said in the report. “And more than 5 years ago I had a DUI, but I have learned from my mistakes, and I am not a violent person.”

Nava was one of the 50 undocumented immigrants who were arrested in Georgia on September 11 as a result of a massive operation of home raids conducted by ICE. So far, he’s been the only one released and allowed to stay in the United States temporarily.

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