The Ongoing War Against Immigrants Intensifies
As Donald Trump just celebrated a military style July Forth holiday filled with war tanks and missile launchers, his administration is back to work neglecting safe haven for those most vulnerable and in search of the very freedom and liberty the United States was “once” known for.
Newly released documents expose further cruel and un-American tactics employed as part of an ongoing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids. The documents, released Wednesday by the immigrant rights groups Mijente, Just Futures Law, and Detention Watch Network, show that ICE officials are building arrest target lists for mass raids to meet specific numbers, even as the agency continues to internally and publicly stress a “public safety” rationale for immigration arrests.
“The ongoing threat of mass raids for mass deportations has made it necessary for us to understand the inner workings of ICE’s mass raid operations”
Immigrant rights groups from around the country filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act to collect information on the planned September 2017 raid, dubbed Operation Mega, and other similar operations. ICE did not respond to the FOIA requests, prompting litigation by the groups, through which they have obtained thousands of pages of documents over the last year.
“The ongoing threat of mass raids for mass deportations has made it necessary for us to understand the inner workings of ICE’s mass raid operations,” said Silky Shah, executive director of Detention Watch Network. “We’ve confirmed in government documents that ICE operations are politically motivated. Immigration raids are meant to terrorize communities and instill fear.“
For Operation Mega, the agency used immigration, criminal, and commercial databases to build a target list of 8,400 people that it shared with the 24 field offices for Enforcement and Removal Operations, ICE’s deportation-focused division, around the country.
A document laying out plans for Operation Mega reveals how ICE’s national headquarters was preparing target lists to share with its two-dozen field offices, to be reviewed and approved by field office directors in advance of the raids. The document also underscores ICE’s secrecy around the operation — even when it came to interactions with the legislative branch and local police. One section, titled “Congressional, Community, and Media Relations” says, “No proactive outreach shall be conducted with non-law enforcement entities on the planning or execution of this operation.” The guide also gave ICE offices the freedom not to inform local police departments about the planned raids if ICE supervisors felt that “operation sensitivities are expected to compromise officer safety or operational security.”
Words by Maryam Saleh