U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is kicking off a series of “raids” in several major U.S. cities beginning on Sunday, July 14. The operation was first brought to light by a report from the New York Times, and according to a report from NBC, will focus on about 2,000 families suspected of living in the United States illegally. President Donald Trump hinted at the existence of the raids on Friday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The cities where the raids are suspected of taking place are Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York and San Francisco. However, it is unclear how Hurricane/Tropical Storm Barry will impact operations in the South. Reports of ICE raids taking place in New York City were reported on Saturday as well, but the large portions of the city are experiencing power loss, and it is unknown if the utility failure could cause the raids to be delayed.
The ICE teams will most likely be carried out by agents of the organization’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) section. Agents working for ERO are sworn law enforcement officers and are trained in Glynco Georgia at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). NEWSREP previously reported in 2017 that ICE agents are armed with the Sig Sauer P320 as well as other small arms.
According to ICE’s website, the mandate of ERO teams is to “identify, arrest, and remove aliens who present a danger to national security or are a risk to public safety, as well as those who enter the United States illegally or otherwise undermine the integrity of our immigration laws and our border control efforts.”
Protestors around the country have launched demonstrations decrying the raids. On Friday, anti-ICE protestors removed the American flag outside of an ICE building in Aurora, Colorado. According to a report from Fox News, the protestors then hoisted the Mexican flag up the pole.
Across the country in New York City, Mayor and presidential candidate Bill de Blasio ordered officers of the New York Police Department not to assist ICE agents during the raids, and said President Trump has “turned ICE into a political operation to terrorize our immigrant communities,” via a tweet which also included the hashtag #AbolishICE.
Mayors in other cities such as San Francisco and Atlanta also criticized the raid. London Breed, Mayor of San Francisco also said “If you want to come after them, you’re going to have to come through us,” according to Vox.
In unrelated news, ICE also announced it has brought charges against rapper R Kelly for “racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.”