Once Donald Trump officially became president of the US, he did not waste a single second putting into action all of the promises he made to his most loyal voters throughout his "Make America Great Again" campaign.
From the much-talked-about Mexico border wall to immigration policies, his executive orders have shaken up the country. Now, Trump's deportation plan has become undocumented immigrants' nightmare-turned-reality.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids have swept the nation with over 600 arrests made in just one week.
According to The New York Times, people were apprehended across 11 cities — 40 were detained in New York and approximately 160 in Los Angeles, as reported by The Washington Post. In addition to New York and LA, agents have raided homes and workplaces in Chicago, Atlanta, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Not only have people been been confined by ICE officers, but some have already been deported.
Outrage over Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' deportation made national headlines and is the sobering reality of the numerous ICE crackdowns that began taking place on Monday, February 9. Officials confirmed that 37 of the 160 people in LA alone were extradited.
President Trump broadened the deportation criteria, increasing the range of people who would be prioritized for deportation.
Trump's order focuses on anyone who has been charged with a criminal offense, including those who were not convicted, people who have engaged in "fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency," and anyone who "poses a risk to public safety or national security" — a judgement call that an immigration officer can make without review from a supervisor before targeting them.
"Dangerous criminals who should be deported are being released into our communities."
Los Angeles ICE field director David Marin said that 75% of those detained in LA had felony convictions, as stated by The Washington Post. The remaining quarter of people who were in holding had misdemeanors, or were simply illegally in the US.
On Sunday, February 12, the president took to Twitter to address the current wave of arrests and deportations.
He remained firm on his "illegal criminals" narrative, even though officials established that immigrants without criminal records were also targeted, as noted by The Washington Post.
New York senator Chuck Schumer has criticized the lack of transparency and has urged ICE to "come clean" about who they are choosing to single out.
Schumer said, "Targeting law-abiding innocent immigrant families whose only wrongdoing was crossing the border to give their children a better life, instead of focusing on removing those who have been convicted of violent crimes, is a waste of limited resources and undermines law enforcement in communities across the country. ICE must come clean."
"Our communities are terrified."
The attorney in charge of civil practice at Legal Aid, Adriene Holder, explained to New York Daily News how these large-scale raids are impacting undocumented immigrants. "There's a lot of fear. A lot of confusion. They're not sure what to do or who to contact. They didn't know if their loved one had been deported already or if they were in a facility," he said.
People rallied together and took to the streets over the weekend to protest Trump's immigration policy and recent ICE raids
Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said that the raids were "routine" immigration enforcement actions. However, people marched in solidarity to send a message to Trump and his officials about the unusual and non-routine manner in which agents were targeting people.
"There is a dreadful sense of fear. It’s more than palpable. It’s radiating. People are terrified."
A pastor in a predominantly Latinx neighborhood in Los Angeles described the unsettling shock he had witnessed at his Sunday service. "They were just sitting there in stunned silence," he said.