Immigration Raids - Update From Our Grantees
"Immigration raids are happening across the country. It is important to responsibly report and share verified information so that we can be organized and help communities best protect themselves. Misinformation is harmful to communities, amplifies fear, and drains limited resources." - Desis Rising Up and Moving (DESIS)
We want to give you some helpful information Crossroads Fund grantees are sharing with us regarding immigration raids in Chicago and how you can help inform others responsibly.
Social media is abuzz with rumors that a massive U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raid is scheduled in Chicago this weekend.
A Facebook post published on Tuesday, February 14 was from an unverified source that claimed to have received the information from “several immigration-related organizations.” It stated that a quota of over 20,000 people would be targeted at schools and churches - from predominantly Latinx neighborhoods like Pilsen. The message prompted many to re-share the information in the hopes of protecting their family and friends. That same morning, commuters on the Addison Red Line stop reported seeing personnel with uniforms marked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducting what the federal agency called a routine bag check. Unaware of the difference between ICE and DHS people began to make connections between the two events.
The problem? The information about the immigration sweep quota was inaccurate and could not be verified by local immigration groups or organizations. Crossroads Fund grantee Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) shared this helpful document “Is it [a] raid?” that outlines steps one can take to prevent misinformation and panic. Community organizations don’t want to elevate feelings of anxiety and fear, and instead want to create a reliable system where people can get accurate information. It’s important to get information from groups who are doing the work day in and day out. It is clear that the racist and xenophobic rhetoric of the past year, coupled with the Executive Orders by the Trump administration have people bracing for the worst.
Good intentions without the right information or training can do more harm than good.
WHAT WE KNOW:
Aggressive detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants began under the Bush and Obama administration. The Trump Administration has already passed unconstitutional Executive Orders targeting immigrants and has pledged to deport more people than their predecessors. Local media is reporting that ICE arrested 48 people in Chicago last week.
A spokesperson for The Department of Homeland Security confirmed to the Chicagoist that Visible Intermodal Prevention & Response personnel (VIPR) were conducting a routine security detail on the Red Line and said that screenings have been taking place in Chicago since 2014.
The Facebook post that warned about possible immigration sweeps over the weekend has not been confirmed by local immigration rights groups.
Groups like OCAD are monitoring the situation and are asking for the public's cooperation. If you or someone you know is detained or you believe you are witnessing an ICE raid call their hotline 1-855-435-7693.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Besides sharing accurate information on Facebook we can support our immigrant neighbors by getting involved.
PASO-West Suburban Action Project invites people to attend “Organized Against Raids.” The goal of this meeting is to develop a raid response plan for the western suburban communities.
PASO – West Suburban Action Project
Friday, February 17, 2017
3415 W. North Ave, Suite D
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD) is hosting a series of Defense Workshop for the community.
“Chicago: Sanctuary City?”
Saturday, February 18, 2017
5646 S. Karlov Ave
“The Fight Against Deportations”
Saturday, February 25, 2017
2329 S. Troy
See the full list on their Facebook page.
Community Activism Law Alliance (CALA) is seeking bilingual volunteers to help translate calls from their immigration helpline (872) 267-CALA (2252). The helpline accepts calls from any immigrant who does not have access to an attorney. The free helpline is available in both English and Spanish every day. Each caller receives a free, confidential immigration screening and legal consultation. Contact Antonio at Antonio@calachicago.org.
FOLLOW GRANTEES WORKING ON IMMIGRANT RIGHTS
As always these grantees are excellent sources of information and good places to donate. These groups are providing necessary resources and need our collective support more than ever.
DOWNLOADS: United We Dream has free Know Your Rights Deportation Defense Card graphics in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Espanol, and English. These materials can be shared on social media and printed.
TOOLKIT: Immigrant Defense Project has a free toolkit to defend against ICE raids and community arrests.
That’s our update for now. Stay safe and take care.