President Trump’s Raids on Immigrant Communities

President Trump’s Raids on Immigrant Communities

FEBRUARY 27, 2017

Recently there have been numerous reports from across the United States of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducting raids and making arrests. Specifically, we have heard reports of ICE activity in Atlanta and Savannah, GA; Austin (and suburbs) and San Antonio, TX; Los Angeles and San Bernardino, CA; Charlotte, NC; Portland, OR; and Chicago, Indianapolis, New York City, and Phoenix. We’ve also heard reports of activity in Montgomery County, MD, and in Florida, Kansas, South Carolina, and Virginia.

We are working with national and local partners to obtain detailed information about these raids. U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued a statement on Feb. 13 saying that “ICE officers in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio and New York City areas of responsibility [had] arrested more than 680 individuals.” Given ICE’s general lack of transparency and reports of ICE raids occurring in areas for which ICE has not released any information, we believe the actual number of arrests is substantially higher.

ICE is engaging in the following practices:

  • Going to homes and workplaces to arrest people, both in individual actions and through sweeps of large apartment complexes.
  • Making “collateral” arrests of people who are not the particular people ICE is looking for when it raids a home or workplace (i.e., ICE is arresting people who happen to be in a place where ICE is looking for someone else).
  • Using mobile biometrics units to more quickly identify people who may be deportable. (A mobile biometric unit is a handheld device used to take people’s fingerprints, to check to see if they are deportable.)

How are these raids different from ICE enforcement under the Obama administration?

ICE has mischaracterized these raids as “routine” or “targeted” enforcement actions consistent with prior enforcement operations. Here’s how these raids are different:

  1. No more priorities. Since November 2014, ICE had been focusing its enforcement activity on people with serious criminal convictions, meaning that 87 percent of the undocumented community were not targeted for arrest and deportation. But under the interior enforcement executive order issued Jan. 25, 2017, virtually anyone who is undocumented is considered a “priority” for deportation.
  2. Criminal prosecutions. ICE has indicated that it will criminally prosecute, for illegal entry or reentry, individuals detained in the interior of the U.S. Historically, only people caught either in the act of illegally entering the U.S. or very near the border were charged with these offenses. Criminally charging undocumented people detained in the interior of the country, where the average time they’ve resided there is 13 years, for entering the country many years ago causes fear and destabilizes communities.
  3. Collateral arrests. These days, more people are being detained who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, including people with DACA. Previously, when ICE detained such people during an immigration enforcement operation, often they were released once it became clear that they were not enforcement priorities. Now ICE is processing them for deportation.
  4. Expansion of “expedited removal.” As directed by the Jan. 25 executive order, ICE is dramatically expanding its use of expedited removal. As a result, non–U.S. citizens for whom there may be options to remain in the U.S. lawfully may be deported simply because ICE does not provide them enough time to pursue those options. In addition, ICE has been denying attorneys access to detainees and refusing to accept requests for stays of removal, thus making it increasingly difficult for advocates to help people who’ve been detained.

These immigration enforcement tactics devastate our communities and create chaos and fear. Many of these tactics rely on racial profiling and attempt to remove people from the country quickly, before they have an opportunity to speak with an attorney or appear before a judge. Immigration authorities may claim otherwise, but their actions result in swift and cruel deportations of integral members of our families and communities.

What do immigrants and others impacted need to know?

  • Everyone has basic rights, no matter who is president.
  • You have the right to remain silent. You may refuse to speak to immigration officers.
  • You have the right to speak with a lawyer. Before you sign anything, talk to a lawyer.
  • Carry a know-your-rights card and any valid U.S. immigration document you have.
  • Do not open your door to immigration officers unless they show you a warrant signed by a judge. If the officers say they have a warrant, ask them to slip it under the door or to place it against a window so you can read it.
  • If you have lawfully present or U.S.-citizen children or relatives, health problems, or other factors that may cause you or your family to suffer if you are detained, tell this to the immigration officer if it appears that they’re going to detain you.
  • Learn more about your rights and how to prepare for raids at,, and
  • Report and document raids and arrests. Call United We Dream’s hotline to report a raid:

What can friends and allies do to help?

If you are concerned about the impact these immigration enforcement raids are having or will have on our community, you can voice your objections in the following ways:

  • Call your representative in Congress at 202-224-3121 and tell them you want these raids to stop immediately.
  • Call your mayor, governor, and local and state representatives and demand that they take steps to protect immigrant communities from attacks by the Trump deportation force. You can find out who your state and local elected officials are at
  • Attend local marches and vigils opposing these raids. You can find information on local events at
  • Report and document raids and arrests. Call United We Dream’s hotline to report a raid:

What can elected officials do?

Elected officials and their staffs can obtain necessary information regarding ICE enforcement operations. Specifically, you can contact your local ICE field office director to:

  • obtain information about their new enforcement priorities;
  • find out what operations are being developed and carried out;
  • ask how many people have been arrested;
  • obtain the names of any individuals who have been arrested, as well as their “alien registration numbers” (or “A-numbers”);
  • learn where those individuals are being held and about any expected transfers; and
  • ask local law enforcement agencies whether they are aware of the operations, and request information regarding whether they’re collaborating with ICE in any way.

Contact information for ICE field offices can be found at The information you can obtain immediately after an immigration arrest occurs is critical. Please contact the ICE field office as soon as possible after hearing of an immigration enforcement action in your district to obtain the information in the above bulleted list. Use the information you obtain to conduct district casework and to support local organizations responding to the enforcement actions.


For more information, visit our immigration enforcement issues webpage or contact us at [email protected].