On Thursday Sept. 7th, a coalition of national immigrant rights organizations made public a massive operation, planned by the Trump administration, to detain thousands of immigrants under his January Executive Order. The Order making all undocumented people, as well as some documented people, a priority for removal from their homes in the US. “Operation Mega” aims to detain 8,400 people through coordinated operations with all immigration enforcement agencies (ICE, HSI, CBP) between September 16th and 21st.
The planned raids were scheduled for only days after the administration’s elimination of DACA and ahead of Congress’ upcoming Appropriations vote. Border crossings and detention of migrants crossing the border are down. Policies protecting states and localities from bearing the financial and human cost of being commandeered by ICE have created safer and stronger local communities, while keeping many out of deportation.
“As the Colorado Rapid Response Network, we condemn this horrific plan. The Administration is focused on destroying the rich and vibrant fabric of our community by ripping our neighbors away. Clearly this Administration looks to justify increases to an already bloated budget and satisfy an anti-immigrant agenda. Last year we spent $3.3 billion of our tax dollars on immigrant detention while lining the pockets of for-profit detention centers. In total, we spent $18 billion on immigration enforcement, more than we spent on all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Congress must use its constitutional power of the purse to reject bigger enforcement budgets and reinvest in our communities,” Gabriela Flora of the American Friends Service Committee explained.
Immigration operations under the Trump Administration and the administration’s top DHS agents have made clear, “no population is off the table.” Anyone who immigration enforcement officials come into contact with will be collateral damage. Nationally, in the most recent enforcement operation for which ICE released data, approximately 70% of individuals arrested were what ICE calls “collateral” arrests – undocumented individuals who face arrest and detention just because ICE encountered them while they were looking for someone else. In Colorado, the data from the Rapid Response Network hotline reflects the same with 84% of the people detained being bystanders.
“This is the time for all elected officials to step up for their immigrant constituents and be ready to document and condemn ICE abuses, and to take immediate action to prevent any local or state resources from being used for this cruel operation,” said Carla Castedo of Mi Familia Vota.
Those ICE puts at risk in large scale operations are Central American youth and their sponsors and others who came seeking asylum, immigrants who have a conviction, those with a final order of removal, and those listed in unconstitutional and inaccurate gang database lists.
“We will not allow this administration to bully and terrorize us into a state of panic, as they intend with this sick operation,” said Ana Rodríguez of the Colorado People’s Alliance. “We will resist these attacks as a unified community, we will make public the atrocities ICE commits, and we will continue to fight back. We are here to stay.”
While NBC is reporting the Administration has postponed these raids, the Administration remains committed to reaching the goal of deporting every single person who is undocumented while reviewing with a fine tooth comb the records of permanent residents and visa holders.
“This planned attack on our immigrant communities is consistent with this administration’s white supremacist agenda,” said Celeste Martínez of Together Colorado. “Our Black, Asian and Brown immigrant neighbors are being singled out, but anyone in the way of this destructive operation is vulnerable to being deported.”
The Colorado Rapid Response Network stands ready to respond to community reports of ICE activity in the coming weeks. We urge all immigrants who are at risk, or who live with or near someone who is at risk, of being targeted by this operation to review Know Your Rights materials, to complete a family safety plan, and to have the Rapid Response Hotline Number easily accessible 1-844-864-8341.