MIAMI – Immigration advocates are starting to experience the stepped-up enforcement under President Donald Trump. The Department of Homeland Security reported they conducted immigration enforcement raids in several homes and workplaces this week.
DHS reported that while the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was prioritizing those with criminal records, they were also catching other undocumented migrants who were in the area. This follows Trump's executive order making it clear that any undocumented migrant could be a priority for deportation.
Advocates from United We Dream, the Center for Community Change and Make the Road reported on Friday that they had received reports of arrests in Florida, California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, New York and Kansas.
The raid reported in Florida was allegedly in Plant City. Federal authorities only confirmed the raids in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
David Marin, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's field office director for enforcement and removal operations in greater Los Angeles, said the agency carries out these operations two or three times a year in his region. He says the California operation was in the planning stages "before the administration came out with their current executive orders."
Advocates began fielding calls Thursday from immigrants and their lawyers reporting raids at homes and businesses in the greater Los Angeles area. In one instance, agents showed up at the home of a 50-year-old house painter named Manuel Mosqueda in the Los Angeles suburbs, looking to arrest an immigrant who wasn't there. In the process, they spoke with Mosqueda, arrested him and put him on a bus to Mexico — though lawyers were able to halt his deportation and bring him back.
In all, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested about 160 people during a five-day sweep in Southern California aimed at immigrants with criminal histories and deportation orders, including a Salvadoran gang member wanted in his country and a Brazilian drug trafficker. Marin acknowledged that five of those arrested would not have met the Obama administration's enforcement priorities.