Chicago’s immigrant communities were on edge Sunday morning while activists mobilized to report and observe expected raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. President Donald Trump has been threatening mass arrests Sunday of people who are in the United States illegally.
At 8 AM activists gathered outside a detention center in west-suburban Broadview where deportees are often held after arrest. The three dozen protesters chanted “abolish ICE.” By 8:45 the protesters dispersed after Broadview police told them to leave because they didn’t have permission to be there.
In Pilsen dozens of people went door-to-door to provide information to residents about their rights. They didn’t knock on the doors to avoid igniting fears that they were actually federal agents.
Rev. Jose Landaverde, with Faith, Life and Hope Mission on Chicago’s Southwest Side, has opened the doors to his mission to welcome undocumented immigrants afraid of the raids.
Landaverde said he helped about 10 families move because at least one member of the family has a removal order.
In the Albany Park neighborhood activists fanned out on foot and in bike brigades to monitor potential raids.
“I came because I wanted to be more informed and involved and not just keep at a distance while people are suffering,” said area resident Paul Brennan “So when I saw this opportunity, I decided to take it.”
The effort was organized by aldermen including Rosanna Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd ward.
Neighborhood resident Cindy Zucker said, “We live in a very diverse community and it’s pretty clear ICE intends to arrest and detain people today and so I am out here to protect and be a witness to what is happening,”
The activists gathered at 9:30 AM to learn simple tactics to help potential deportees.
“If you see something immediately start recording,” Anthony Joel Quezada told dozens gathered in a storefront that is home to a community organizing center called 33rd ward Working Families. Volunteers were urged to travel in pairs.
“While one person makes a call to a precinct captain the other person can communicate basic constitutional rights by shouting, ‘you don’t have to sign anything, you have the right to remain silent, don’t give them false information,’” said Quezada.
By noon, none of the volunteers had reported back any raid sightings.
In total, ICE is expected to target about 2,000 immigrants nationwide who have a deportation order.
The arrests, which were postponed last month by President Donald Trump, target people with final orders of removal, including families whose cases had been fast-tracked by judges.
In Chicago, the threat of raids has scared immigrant families and impacted businesses.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has denounced the raids and said the Chicago Police Department will not provide information to federal immigration agents and federal agents will not have access to CPD databases.
Lightfoot announced the city would invest an additional $250,000 into the legal protection fund, a 20 percent increase in funding.
Chicago’s Legal Protection Fund provides legal consultation and representation to immigrants. The city partners with the National Immigrant Justice Center and other organizations.