Washington : An Irishman was imprisoned in the United States last week after being arrested “without warning” by administration officials on charges of illegal immigration.
US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officers in unmarked cars arrested Keith Byrne, 37, father-of-three, from Fermoy, Co Cork, when he was on his way to work — a painting and decorating business he built up over the last five years — in Montgomery County, outside Philadelphia, on Wednesday morning, The Irish Times reported.
The clampdown on undocumented immigrants living across the United States that began on Sunday has led to widespread fear among thousands of people living in the country illegally.
The raids, which were initially planned to take place in June, eventually began this weekend and focused on cities with high immigrant populations including New York, Chicago and Miami.
The actions are further meant to deter a surge in Central American families fleeing poverty and gang violence in their home countries, with many seeking asylum in the United States.
Addressing the White House, US President Trump had on Friday announced that raids by the ICE officials would begin very soon.
“People come into our country illegally, we’re taking them out legally – very simple. It’s not something I like doing,” he said.
About 2,000 immigrant families are expected to be targeted in 10 cities across the country.
Meanwhile, Democrats and immigrant rights groups have been urging undocumented migrants to be vigilant, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi encouraging Democratic members of Congress to communicate to their constituents about their rights as immigrants.
She said, “Families belong together,” adding, “Every person in America has rights.”
The latest immigration push was further triggered after Trump in a series of provocative tweets on Sunday targetted four US congresswomen telling them to “go back” to the “totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”, adding: “you can’t leave fast enough”.
While he continued to not name the Representatives, the consecutive Twitter outbursts come shortly after Democrats Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley condemned the President’s immigration policies, according to CNN.
The representatives, who are all women of colour, also criticized the conditions at border detention facilities.