You may have heard about the announcement that ICE will be conducting targeted raids of Central American refugees who have recently entered the US. Immigration Customs Enforcement has begun targeted raids of Central Americans seeking asylum fleeing violence. These raids will be focused on those who have been issued a final deportation order since January 1, 2014 and could begin as early as January 1, 2016. The Obama Administration has announced that they will start a new round of raids at the homes of certain undocumented immigrants. We do not know how long this will last.
-Homeland Security has said that the raids will focus on immigrant families from Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras) who were arrested by Border Patrol or ICE on the southern border after May 1, 2014 AND who have final orders of deportation (with no more appeals pending) OR who did not appear at their scheduled immigration court hearings.
-So far, the new raids have happened in Georgia, Texas, North Carolina and Illinois. As of January 5th, we have not received reports of new raids in Michigan.
-Agents may go to the homes where targeted Central American families formerly lived, but no longer reside. They may detain other undocumented people in the home, regardless of whether they are current priorities.
Here are several ways faith communities can respond:
Call the White House
White House Comment Line directly at 1-888-907-2053.
“I’m from City, State, Congregation/Community and as a person of faith, I urge President Obama to immediately STOP plans to deport Central American children and families. These individuals are fleeing violence and should have access to legal counsel so that they can apply for asylum and protection in the United States.”
Report When A Raid Is Happening:
TEXT ALERTS WATCH ICE: 877877
Distribute Know Your Rights Information
It is imperative to educate all immigrant communities on know your rights resources. Be prepared. Good resources for preparation and know your rights include:
Information from Not1More campaign:
“The best way to keep immigrant communities and families safe is to make sure people know their rights, organize to denounce the raids when they take place, and fight against the deportation of individuals targeted.
In addition, the five things for immigrants to know if immigration enforcement comes to their home are:
1. Prepare by having an emergency plan and gathering documents. Individuals who may be targeted by ICE can prepare by gathering all their important documents and putting them in a trusted place, including any children’s birth certificates, tax information, medical information, school diplomas, immigration documents (the “Alien” number), etc.
If the individual is detained, these could be useful in fighting their case or getting them bond. If the individual has children, have an emergency plan with them, and know who would be called in case of a raid.
2. Do not open the door. No law enforcement agent can come into anyone’s home without a warrant signed by a judge. This includes immigration agents, even if they have a photograph or document showing the person they are looking for. This is not a warrant. If they have a warrant, they can share it or show it before the door is opened. Make sure that other people in the family know this, even young children.
3. Do not give immigration agents your information. If they don’t have a warrant, immigration agents do not have a right to question anyone, or ask for information or identification. If immigration agents enter a home, workplace, or community, no one should give them their identification – especially if the documents are from another country, or fake. No one should sign any documents, or consent to be fingerprinted. Even if taken into custody, individuals have the right to remain silent.
4. Organize to get individuals released and fight deportations. Just because immigration enforcement has labeled an individual a “priority” for deportation – as they have the targets of these raids – individuals and communities still have a chance to fight the deportation. People facing deportation should find a local community organization and a trusted attorney or get in touch with the #Not1More campaign to get an evaluation of their case and consider doing a public campaign to stop an individual released or stop their deportation.
The Not1More campaign offers this form, for people to get an initial evaluation of their case if they are facing deportation:http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/intake/
5. Denounce the raid and organize. Do not suffer or fear in silence and isolation. Everyone needs to know that these raids are happening. Individuals who have experienced raids and those concerned should talk with others in their neighborhood about what is happening and how to have a safety plan. But also talk about it with community organizations, local elected officials, news media. It is important that these stories are denounced publicly.