Update: After this article was published, President Trump said he would delay the raids for two weeks to see if a solution could be worked out with Democrats.
As President Donald Trump launches his 2020 reelection campaign, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to raid the homes of undocumented immigrants in multiple cities — including Miami — this weekend. The Miami Herald and Washington Post confirmed the federal government plans to target undocumented immigrants in predawn raids in as many as ten major U.S. cities.
A spokesman for ICE in Miami declined to comment on the pending raids, stating the agency does not "discuss future operations." But immigrant activists who spoke with New Times say they've been briefed that the raids will likely begin Sunday and could last until the middle of next week.
Miami-based immigration activists are now sharing legal tips for immigrants who might get caught up in the raids. The Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC), an activist group that fights for immigrant civil rights, has shared a hotline for people to call to obtain information and legal tips before any raids occur.
"We're not trying to create too much of a panic, but at the same time, these raids are real," FLIC political director Tomas Kennedy tells New Times. "These have the potential to ruin people's lives." He adds that FLIC is still gathering information about the raids and plans to send updates through social media and WhatsApp.
According to the Herald, ICE plans to focus on three main groups of immigrants: undocumented people who arrived in the States as minors but have since turned 18; people who were ordered removed by a court in absentia; and immigrants who missed court hearings and have not communicated with the federal government. ICE reportedly plans to target as many as 2,000 people in what's been called a "family op." The agency will reportedly house adult and child detainees in hotel rooms until all members of a family unit are able to be deported together.
Immigrant-rights groups are instructing anyone who comes into contact with ICE agents to film as much of the encounter as possible, make copies of any paperwork, and document the names and badge numbers of the agents.
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The raids are all but certainly a political stunt to boost Trump's campaign. Trump himself tweeted this week that he plans to deport "millions" of immigrants who have "illicitly found their way into the United States." Some critics have assailed the plan as "Gestapo-like" and simply a way to terrorize immigrant communities.
In Miami, Cuban detainees face an additional hurdle, in that their adversarial nation does not accept deportees from America:
Critics have also lambasted Trump for wantonly deporting Venezuelan refugees despite the fact he is also mounting a campaign to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro. Critics have whacked Trump for knowingly sending immigrants back to a country in crisis.
Immigrant activists have spent today posting legal tips for undocumented families — including telling people not to sign any ICE documents without a lawyer present.