By Kevin Deutsch
Bronx immigrant families and advocates are gearing up for a series of reported ICE raids expected to begin in cities across America Sunday morning.
While it remained unclear Saturday whether the Bronx would be among the areas targeted by government agents, the borough is New York City’s only majority Latinx county, and has been the focus of previous immigration enforcement operations.
While few details have been made public about the reported raids, ICE and Department of Homeland Security officials have said the “family op” would target as many as 2,000 families with pending deportation orders in up to 10 cities, including major urban centers like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami, The Washington Post reported.
“If you’re here illegally, then you should be removed,” acting head of ICE Mark Morgan said Wednesday. “And in this case, that includes families.”
Adding to the fears of Bronx families who lack proper documentation was a Tweet posted earlier by President Donald Trump, warning that ICE next week would “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
In response to the expected raids, elected officials cross the city and state spoke out against the federal government’s increasingly hard line immigration policies.
“We will fight back at every turn to protect our immigrant families,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “New York will continue to be the beacon of inclusion and diversity that the nation and the world looks to.”
New York state Attorney General Letitia James said the state would not cooperate with the ICE raids.
“President Trump’s use of migrant families and asylum seekers as political punching bags is a despicable act of racism and xenophobia that is antithetical to our basic human values,” James said.
Local immigrants rights groups and advocates, including the Bronx Immigration Partnership, were making preparations Saturday for enforcement sweeps they expected would seriously impact Bronx families.
Free legal and social services are available to Bronx -based immigrants here illegally who hope to remain in the country.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.