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The Mass Immigration Raids That Weren’t

For the second time in less than a month, the mass immigration raids that President Donald Trump promised to carry out have failed to materialize.

In June, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was due to target thousands of people living in the U.S. without proper documentation in 10 major cities, including Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York—at Trump’s request. Trump proceeded to postpone the raids shortly before they were due to begin.

But last week it appeared as though the raids would finally happen, starting on Sunday. Trump told reporters on Friday that “it starts on Sunday,” and ICE would “take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from.”

While Trump promised mass roundups, the weekend has come and gone with reports suggesting that raids were largely thwarted. ICE agents had been told to prepare for the weekend raids and then were reportedly never given nationwide orders.

ICE agents in several New York City neighborhoods were prevented from entering homes as they didn’t have warrants, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio told the local CBS affiliate that no arrests had been made. As of Sunday evening, local Bay Area CBS affiliate KPIX reported that there were no confirmed reports of raids there either.

There were similarly no reports of raids in Atlanta, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot had announced ahead of the weekend that local police would not assist ICE in their efforts in the city. While New Orleans was originally due to be included, the city tweeted last week that operations would be postponed due to Tropical Storm Barry.

The New York Times reported that plans were changed due to the media attention around the raids, which included tipping off immigrant communities and preparing them with their rights should they be targeted. The mass raid will reportedly be replaced with a “smaller and more diffuse scale of apprehensions” due to occur throughout the week.

A number of advocacy and activist organizations circulated “know your rights” flyers and booklets, which taught undocumented immigrants, for example, that they are not required to answer their door. Officials and legislators in many cities had also made immigration experts available to those who sought help and advice. Several of the targeted cities are already designated ‘sanctuary cities,’ meaning that they limit cooperation with federal immigration agencies, such as ICE. 

The worst may yet be ahead though: with the work week beginning today, it may be more difficult for undocumented individuals to avoid ICE agents, as staying home is not necessarily an option for those with jobs.

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