By Joseph G. Ballstaedt
Recent immigration enforcement raids have received considerable attention. These raids, which picked up more than 680 people, were conducted between February 6 and February 10 in the Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and other areas. According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), this action was routine immigration enforcement that did not represent an increase in tempo. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed, stating: “ICE conducts these kind of targeted enforcement operations regularly and has for many years.” President Trump, on the other hand, suggested otherwise, tweeting: “The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!” Immigrant-rights activists had named President Obama the “Deporter-in-Chief” because of the millions he deported. However, it seems President Trump is attempting to outdo Obama.
Is this routine action or an increased crackdown? The DHS emphasized that the majority (75%) of detained individuals were criminal aliens, convicted of crimes including homicide, aggravated sexual abuse, sexual assault of a minor, and DUI. However, the raids also captured immigrants without criminal records. Some immigration attorneys agree that this ICE action is “new” and that deportation priorities have changed. Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, an immigrant youth organization, said: “This is clearly the first wave of attacks under the Trump administration, and we know this isn’t going to be the only one.”