Washington: Protests are being held across major cities in the United States against President Donald Trump’s policies, especially after the leader announced the start of a crackdown on undocumented immigrants by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from Sunday.
Trump first suggested mass deportations last month, which were cancelled after he talked with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Al Jazeera. He, again, renewed his demands for the crackdown this week, confirming that the raids would begin from Sunday, around two days ago.
The crackdown will target around 2,000 undocumented people who have already received orders across 10 US cities, including New York and Chicago, as per The New York Times. The exercise will include “collateral” deportations, which means that undocumented individuals who are not the targets of ICE officials will also face arrests if found at the site of a raid.
“We are focused on criminals as much as we can before we do anything else,” Trump had said on Friday while announcing the raids.
Even though the US President has said that the raids will mainly target criminals, justice groups expect the crackdown to include recently arrived undocumented people who escaped poverty and violence back home.
Many have pointed out that Trump’s announcement has spread panic amongst migrant communities, who are bracing to expect the worst.
Lakshmi Sridaran, the co-executive of a group named South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) pointed out that ICE has already been carrying out such raids at a smaller scale, which go undetected. She cited the example of an Indian restaurant in Washington which was targeted by ICE last week, resulting in the detainment of several employees
“Something like this might not have even made the news had it not been for a community member letting us know…It could’ve just very easily slipped under the radar. To me, what’s even more frightening and insidious is that this is actually happening like this on a more low-key level all the time throughout the year…these larger scale raids are just an escalation of something that’s already happening on a daily basis,” Al Jazeera quoted Sridaran as saying.