US immigration authorities conducted a series of raids last week in at least six states across the country and arrested hundreds of undocumented immigrants. Apparently, the series of raids that were launched marked the first sweeping enforcement of President Trump's Jan. 25 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement, apparently said that the activities conducted were just part of 'routine' immigration enforcement actions and not raids.
According to the Boston Globe, the raids appeared to target undocumented immigrants, including those without criminal records. It apparently also seemed to signal a parting from the Obama administration's immigration enforcement only against criminals. Trump has reportedly vowed to deport up to three million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. It is also said that the news of the raids rapidly spread among immigrants and activists, such that it generated extensive panic.
In the post of the Washington Post, it is reported that Immigration officials confirmed that agents raided homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina, netting hundreds of people. Reportedly, the said raids uncovered undocumented immigrants from a dozen Latin American countries and that the majority of those detained were serious criminals, including some who were convicted of murder and domestic violence.
However, there are apparently undocumented immigrants with no criminal records were also arrested and could possibly be deported. This report created a great concern to immigrant communities nationwide claiming that the U.S. government might also start going after law-abiding people.
Some activists allegedly suggest that the raids could be a retaliation for the cities that provide sanctuary policies. A government aide reportedly said that it is possible that the mostly daytime raid operations, a departure from the Obama administration's night raids, are meant to send a message to the immigrant community that the Trump deportation force is in effect.