Dragnet Raids Expanded by US Immigration Authorities

In Tuesday’s speech to Congress, President Donald Trump declared that criminals, drug dealers, and gang members were being removed from American communities as he spoke. On the same day, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 11 undocumented immigrants close to Woodburn, Oregon, in an operation that failed to catch the two main targets.

One of them has no criminal convictions, and all now face deportation. Four of those arrested were already embroiled in deportation proceedings.

The round-up in Woodburn is just one of the incidents in an array of collateral arrests that have taken place since priority was given by Trump for the deportation of all undocumented  immigrants eligible for removal. ICE raids are sweeping up bystanders near schools and in their homes and workplaces across the US.

An increased frequency of collateral arrests and general ICE operations has been reported by attorneys and advocates for immigrant rights since the first week-long campaign organized by the Trump administration in February, during which almost 700 people were arrested. A 10-year veteran agent with Immigration  and Customs Enforcement told The New York Times that they were previously not allowed to arrest such bystanders regardless of their immigration status, but that has now changed under Trump.

Immigration advisors to the Trump administration have proposed that the number of immigrants held in detention centers by the Department of Homeland Security should be doubled to as many as 80,000 per day.