PILSEN — As renewed threats of a planned U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation put the immigrant community on edge, organizers say no reported ICE arrests were made in Chicago Sunday, the first day the sweeps were set to begin.
But organizers remain on high alert, according to Laura Mendoza, an immigration organizer with The Resurrection Project in Pilsen. The group did not receive calls from any immigrants reporting they or their family members were detained over the weekend.
Mendoza said undocumented immigrants should remain prepared for when ICE agents do arrive in Chicago.
“We know there are going to be arrests. It’s obviously not happening at the scale that we anticipated,” Mendoza said. “They still have this list of people that didn’t show up to court.”
“We must continue to be present in the community especially people that want to be allies,” Mendoza said. “Just because it’s not happening right now, it doesn’t mean that our communities are not under attack.”
Starting Sunday, ICE was reportedly set to target 2,000 undocumented immigrants in Chicago and other major cities across the country, according to a New York Times report. Those being targeted have pending deportations or are immigrants who failed to appear in court.
The operation will also include “collateral” deportation, the arrests and deportation of other undocumented immigrants who happened to be at the scene during the operation, according to the report.
The operation comes two weeks after Donald Trump delayed a planned ICE operation after facing backlash.
In New York City, ICE agents were turned away for not having a warrant signed by a judge, according to reports.
Across Chicago, activists and organizers canvassed the streets and were present in neighborhoods with large immigrant populations informing people of their rights and keeping watch in case ICE agents were to show up.
Mendoza said ICE agents aren’t allowed to enter private property without a judicial warrant. People also have the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and may refuse to sign paperwork given by an ICE agent, she said.
Attorneys working with Chicago’s Legal Protection fund are on call and are offering their services for free, Mendoza said.
On Sunday, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez (33rd) organized a bike brigade to watch for ICE operations in Albany Park and in surrounding neighborhoods.
A member of the brigade told Block Club there were no confirmed sightings of ICE agents during the bike patrol.
On Friday, a coalition of faith leaders said they were committed to fighting ICE from Saturday until the following Saturday to eat, shop, and be present in communities including Pilsen, Little Village, Gage Park, Albany Park, and Hermosa.
“We need all hands on deck…We need as many people to come out to work and help make sure the undocumented immigrants are protected,” said Jesse Hoyt, campaign director for Healthy Illinois.
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