Trump's ICE Raids Reportedly Set to Begin in Miami This Weekend

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Last month, President Donald Trump abruptly called off a series of planned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in ten major U.S. cities after immigrant activists sounded the alarm. June 22, Trump tweeted he was delaying the raids for two weeks to give Congress time to fix issues at the southern border — or, in other words, to capitulate to his racist demands on immigration policy.

Well, it's been a few weeks, and multiple news outlets are now reporting that immigration raids will likely begin this Sunday in those same ten cities — Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, and Miami. Both the New York Times and Miami Herald confirmed with law-enforcement sources that mass immigration arrests will likely occur this weekend.

An ICE spokesperson in Miami issued the following statement to New Times today:
Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations. As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security. In fact, 90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations component in FY2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed. However, all of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and — if found removable by final order — removal from the United States.

Sources who spoke to the Herald and the Times said the raids will likely be smaller in scope than the ones Trump had planned for June. But according to the Times, ICE still plans to target immigrants who recently crossed the border and about 2,000 immigrants who have been ordered deported but remain in the country anyway. Most worrying, the Times reports ICE will also conduct "collateral arrests" and apprehend any other deportable immigrants who might be on-scene even if those immigrants were not originally targeted in the raids.

Miami's immigrant communities have basically been on lockdown since Trump announced the raids last month. During a roundtable discussion on WLRN radio last month, multiple activists said immigrants across Miami were asking lawyers and advocates whether they should go into hiding, make arrangements to shelter their children with relatives, or sell their cars. Advocates also said many immigrants were skeptical Trump had even called off the raids — many worried he was simply bluffing to give ICE agents the opportunity to arrest people by surprise.

Today activists are once again sharing tips for immigrants who are concerned they might receive a visit from ICE:
Of course, there's also a transparent political angle to all of this: Trump announced his initial set of raids mere days after he held his first campaign rally for reelection in 2020. Critics say he's simply inflicting additional misery on immigrant communities simply to gin up support from his voter base.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.