Anti-immigrant raids start in US
A sense of dread set in over reports that some undocumented immigrants from India employed at a restaurant in the US capital have been apprehended, as raids began on Sunday across several cities against those in the US illegally.
Advocacy group South Asian Americans Leading Together called for volunteer attorneys and translators to help the “Hindi speaking employees” and for a broader effort to reach out to targeted South Asians who speak Urdu, Punjabi or Bangla. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is said to have picked them up last week, though Washington DC is not among cities facing the raids.
President Donald Trump had ordered the raids weeks ago but delayed them to give US Congress more time to legislate a reforms package. Though there has been no word on the raids by ICE, Trump had said “they’re going to take people out and they’re going to bring them back to their countries.”
“Or they’re going to take criminals out, put them in prison, or put them in prison in the countries they came from.”
Raids that could last days are to be held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, Miami, New York City and Baltimore. They are expected to target recent arrivals, including families, and not just those involved in crime.
Protests against the raids were held in Chicago, Baltimore and elsewhere, with signs saying “Stop the raids” and “Close the camps”. The focus has been on people from the “Northern Triangle” of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, but Indians have also figured in recent apprehensions at the US border with Mexico.
There were 2,644 people from India in ICE custody in December 2018, according to a report. SAALT had said in the past that there were 630,000 undocumented Indians in the US in 2017, a 72% increase over 2010.
Three women and child from India were apprehended in Arizona in June. Another child, aged 7, who was accompanying them, could not make it and died of heat and dehydration.