Immigrant rights attorneys in Chicago say there hasn’t been an increase in home raids in the city, but that families are concerned about the possibility.
Over the weekend, several national news outlets said that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, had increased the number of home raids in more than six cities, Chicago among them.
Mony Ruiz-Velasco is an immigrant rights attorney who directs the West Suburban Action Project. She said there hasn’t been an increase in raids or arrests as in other cities in the U.S., but she and her colleagues have seen more intense enforcement practices.
“They’re not new measures,” she said of some of the rules that have been enforced in the past weeks. “Many were set up by previous administrations – but we’re seeing them implemented on larger, more aggressive scales.”
Ruiz-Velasco said people in the immigrant community have been significantly more concerned about their safety since President Trump was inaugurated.
“It’s really definitely a very scary time,” she said.
“We’re having tell people to talk to their kids about making sure, for example, if someone rings the doorbell in someone’s home, kids often will run to the door to see who it is. And we’re having to tell families, ‘We don’t want anyone opening doors.’ Because even though ICE agents shouldn’t come in when a child opens the door, there have been many instances when they do.”
Ruiz- Velasco says it’s important to encourage people to stay engaged with their communities and understand their rights: No one has to open a door unless immigration agents provide a valid warrant issued by a judge; immigrants should carry a valid ID, but they don’t have to identify their country of origin to authorities. She also emphasized the importance of making plans with families in case of detainment or deportation.