HAMPTON, Iowa - Nationwide U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids are set to begin Sunday, with the feds rounding up undocumented immigrants in 10 major U.S. cities, according to a U.S. official. The Trump administration's stated goal is to focus on criminals, with ICE reportedly targeting about 2,000 migrants who are already under deportation orders. Still, there are plenty of people worried they could go much further; authorities may detain immigrants who may be on the scene and were not the target of the raids.
Hampton has a population that is about 22% Hispanic or Latino according to the 2010 Census. To serve those who are both new to the community and to those who are established residents, the La Luz Hispana Center provides services, events and resources. Aimee Hanson is the Associate Director of the center.
"We have three levels of English classes, we have one Spanish class. We have lots of activities for kids, adults, families, cooking nights. We do a lot."
While the raids are targeting cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, there is some fear in the smaller community of about 4,200.
"From what I'm seeing, it's not always the intention of actually executing the law. It's creating a culture of fear that would push people in the shadows, push people out of the community and isolate them, and create such a fear that they're not viable members of the community."
Police Chief Robert Schaefer says such raids are rare in Hampton, if any, with ICE usually only looking for one or two people in particular. Local police, he says, are limited in how much assistance they can provide.
"If there is somebody in the community that they're looking for or what the address might be. Other than that, they usually only tell us that, 'hey, we're going to be in town.' We don't necessarily know where they might be at, but they're going to be in town because they might be looking for somebody."
Once in ICE custody, people can be difficult to find. Hanson says there is help available.
"There are resources for if you're trying to find where your family member is in the system. There's a lot of movement of people detained, so families don't always know where their family is located."
The center also provides bilingual 'know your rights' cards so one can have them on hand if they do come in contact with an ICE agent. The cards outline that one can invoke their right to remain silent, not speak to law enforcement without their legal representative being present, and even not consent to searches or tests, or waive legal rights without their representative present, and also provide a space for their name and date of birth.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated to evangelical and faith-based organizations to step in and urge President Trump to not carry out the raids, saying, "this brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart." According to The New York Times, officials say authorities will try not to split up detained families.
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