On Sept. 28, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted a nationwide seizure known as Operation Safe City, which led to the arrests of nearly 500 people. According to ICE, the raid was to focus on migrants who had criminal records as well as to be a direct assault on sanctuary cities — cities who have measures in place to protect migrants from ICE.
ICE used this opportunity to show migrant communities that it’s hand can stretch even into cities that seek to protect them. This is also the largest raid ICE has conducted since the Trump regime announced the demise of DACA. Well over 120 of the people arrested in Operation Safe City had no criminal record. For the many Dreamers who live and work in and out of sanctuary cities, the mood has gone from uneasy to alarming. The terror of ICE moves into places of refuge with no regard to the effect their policies have on migrants and their families.
Liberation News was given the opportunity to speak to three Dreamers living in Southern California where ICE presence is highly visible. The Dreamers all come from various places in Mexico from the states of Veracruz to Colima to Guerrero. They also all have experience with the flawed U.S. immigration policies.
“He was the staple of our home,” says Jorge who came home to family members in tears over the detention of his uncle. Jorge’s uncle, moved from one facility to another, experienced cruelty from the guards who mocked him over his English language skills. “They want to mentally and physically tire the family of those undocumented people who are arrested,” Jorge told Liberation News.
“It was terrifying because I did not know what had happened to him,” said Karen who had her father detained with little to no communication with him. “I waited every night to see my dad and he wasn’t here.”
Xavier, whose name has been changed in order to protect his identity, was harassed and illegally detained by ICE officials on his way to work. Despite having a valid workers permit, he was detained anyway, and if he had not been able to reach the Mexican consulate, he would have likely been deported. “I got away because, you know, I speak English very well. I know my rights … but still there were other gentlemen in there [jail] that maybe didn’t speak English very well and did not know what was going on.”
Still, ICE continues to wreak havoc on our neighbors, our friends, and our families with blatant disregard for the pain they cause. And despite the Trump regime’s promise that Dreamers would have nothing to be afraid of, an increase in arrests made by ICE have increased by more than 40 percent and revocations of DACA status for migrants have increased by 25 percent. At the same time, funding for private prisons, who are notorious for exploiting detainees for the sake of increasing profits, have been on the rise.