For instance, on June 9, a ICE headline screamed: “ICE arrests over 50 in central California operation targeting criminal aliens, illegal re-entrants, and immigration fugitives.”
But contrast that with actual news reports from media organizations, attorneys, immigration organizations and immigrants themselves, and the story is entirely different.
During the same central California sweep, 16 of the 50 immigrants arrests were those convicted of driving under the influence, while six were arrested for domestic violence convictions, according to reports from the Sacramento Bee news organization.
At a Nashville courthouse, Faustino Rodriguez Hernandez was set to appear before a judge on a charge of driving without a license, according to court records published by The Tennessean. But while he was at the courthouse, an ICE agent arrived and took Hernandez into custody, placing him in federal prison where he will await deportation proceedings.
On May 18, Los Angeles, California student Claudia Rueda, a 22-year-old immigrant rights activist, stepped outside her aunt’s home to move her mother’s car for street cleaning but never returned. Hours later her family learned that she had been surrounded by three unmarked cars carrying an estimated nine plainclothes Customs and Border Protection officers who whisked her off to a detention center 130 miles away, according to the LA Times news organization.
The reason? Though Rueda is eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which would protect her from deportation, her family could not afford the $500 application fee and so never renewed it.
Gilberto Velasquez, a 38-year-old house painter from El Salvador who has lived in the U.S. illegally since 2005 and has a U.S.-born child, recently received news that the government wanted to put his deportation case back on the court calendar because he was cited for driving without a license in Tennessee, where undocumented immigrants cannot get licenses, according to the Reuters news agency.
Sally Joyner, an immigration attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, said one of her Central American clients, who crossed the U.S. border with her children in 2013, could now be deported because she was charged with selling pumpkin seeds as an unauthorized street vendor.
ICE admits it has now expanded its list of potential deportees to include any immigrant who has used falsified identification. And the agency has also confirmed it is now filing motions with immigration courts to re-open cases where undocumented immigrants had “since been arrested for or convicted of a crime,” regardless of how petty.
“This is a sea of change,” said attorney David Leopold, former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association told Reuters.
“Before, if someone did something after the case was closed out that showed that person was a threat, and then it would be re-opened. Now they are opening cases just because they want to deport people.”
This is the current reality of being an immigrant in the U.S. under President Donald Trump, where ICE has been given the green light to target anyone with even the slightest infractions.
If that is you, the best recourse would be to contact an attorney and get legal advice immediately before the ICE man cometh!