Westchester County has not been not immune to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweeps targeting undocumented immigrants in cities nationwide in the past week.
“The Trump Administration’s immigration enforcement tactics — from forcible family separations, to so-called collateral detentions, to menacing tweets that warn of sweeping round-ups — are based on cruelty, fear, and division,” New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson posted online on Wednesday, July 17.
A sweep was conducted in New Rochelle over the Friday, July 12 weekend. It is unclear if any other Westchester cities, towns or villages were targeted.
The mayor continued to say, “here in New Rochelle, this is not some distant, abstract concern. ICE conducted operations in our city this very week, and while only a tiny fraction of our residents will directly encounter an ICE officer, thousands of others experience the suffocating fear that comes with knowing one’s life can be upended in an instant.
The sweeps were conducted by ICE, included “collateral” deportations. In those deportations, law enforcement agents may detain immigrants who happened to be on the scene, even if they were not targets of the sweeps.
Sweeps were targeted communities in and around the metropolis’ of New York, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, and San Fransisco.
“If you are not personally affected, then please try to imagine this feeling; imagine finding it necessary to retreat from any public space, hide behind a locked door, and treat with suspicion anyone who approaches.”
In a statement issued last week, ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke said the agency would not comment on specific details related to enforcement operations, to ensure the safety and security of agency personnel.
Bramson said that the city has posted information from the American Immigration Lawyers Association on its website for individuals and families. And stated that allies of immigrant residents should “be especially mindful of the difficult challenges being visited upon neighbors. It is a good time to reach out affirmatively, express friendship, and offer support.”
“The City’s options are frustratingly limited, and the information received by our PD is minimal. Impeding ICE operations is neither legal, nor advisable, and even providing general notification of impending ICE activities would be ineffective and impractical.”
The mayor noted that the New Rochelle Police Department will not engage in immigration enforcement; local civic and police leadership recognizes that everyone’s safety depends on a relationship of trust with immigrant residents and that New Rochelle is one community, where every one of goodwill is respected and welcome.”
“If there is any positive news, it is that the President’s ugly and shameful policies are rejected by the great majority of Americans,” he added. “In fact, a broad consensus exists about the right way to approach immigration reform.
“Most people believe that DACA recipients should be embraced and protected immediately, that undocumented immigrants who are otherwise law-abiding and taxpaying members of their communities should have a pathway to citizenship, and that immigration enforcement should be targeted toward individuals who are genuine threats to public safety, and not toward families and children.”
Undocumented immigrants who want to check whether a removal order has been issued against them can call the Immigration Court Information System’s automated number at 1-800-898-7180.
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