CHICAGO — Weeks ago, President Donald Trump warned that ICE agents were preparing for raids across the county. Those raids were postponed, but the president has confirmed they will begin this weekend.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids start Sunday, and the order is to remove people who are in the United States illegally. Chicago is one of the many big cities on the target list.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other city and state leaders have been bracing for ICE. The mayor said the raids are going to be incredibly traumatizing experiences for people.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin spoke Friday about the issue during a press conference, following a meeting with "Communities United."
Durbin said when Trump announced mass arrests and deportations, he set fear for many across the country.
"Why have we reached this point in the United State of America? When these people, who are simply asking for a chance to lead good lives — not to break the law —but to lead good lives and be part of America's future, and give their children a chance," Durbin said. "They're asking for the same thing that my grandmother and mother asked for when they were immigrants of this country."
Back in April, Durbin visited the Port of Entry in El Paso, Texas, and a nearby Border Patrol Station. In May, he and other senators called on the Red Cross and Homeland Security to investigate those facilities.
The Homeland Security Inspector General later released two critical reports.
In a statement, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said, "In Illinois, we welcome and protect them, despite threats from President Trump."
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said he is urging every immigrant to know their rights.
"...the first one being that you do not have to open your door to immigration agents," he said.
Lightfoot announced Friday a new executive action to protect immigrants including investing another $250,000 into Chicago’s Legal Protection Fund, providing guidance to city-owned facilities and terminating ICE’s access to police databases.
The mayor also said she’ll be out during the weekend trying to keep the immigrant community calm.
"The people I want to reach are the people who are afraid to leave their homes. The people who are afraid to go out to shop, to go to the doctor," she said. "We have obviously cut ICE off from access to any of our databases and that’s going to continue in perpetuity."
Laura Mendoza, with Resurrection Project, said it's great to hear that local leaders are taking action.
Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx, who called the Trump administration raids “fear-mongering,” announced she has hired the office’s first Immigration Policy and Legal Advisor.
Ruth Lopez McCarthy, managing attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Center, is reminding people of their rights if confronted by an ICE agent.
Your rights are:
- To remain silent
- To be represented by an attorney
- To not sign any documents you do not understand
- To not open the door, unless officers have a warrant
- If your vehicle is stopped, only the driver needs to present identification — passengers do not
McCarthy says support teams and attorneys are available to those in need by calling: 1-855-435-7693
For more information, visit immigrantjustice.org.