Charlotte communities prepare for possible ICE raids this weekend

Charlotte communities prepare for possible ICE raids this weekend

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - President Trump is moving forward with his plans to deport those who are undocumented. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents are set to carry raids starting Sunday in some of the country’s largest cities.

In Feburary of this year, there were reports of ICE raids on Central Avenue on Charlotte’s east side.

On Sunday, 10 major cities – including New York, Atlanta and Houston - are expected to experience raids like we saw here. Charlotte isn’t on that list right now, but people WBTV’s Bria Bell spoke with aren’t so sure it won’t happen here again.

President Trump gave the heads up well in advance, with a tweet about ICE raids and mass deportation. The sweeping immigration raids are expected this weekend. Here in the Queen City, there’s an entire community that’s not taking the warning lightly.

“We’ve been getting a lot of calls and Facebook messages on our social media asking for more information and clarification on the raids,” said Stephania Arteaga.

Arteaga is an advocate for immigrants. She runs Comunidad Colectiva and says the group has been coaching up people on how to legally plan and prepare for ICE raids just in case Charlotte is targeted.

“Precaution is key and knowing your rights is key. So making sure that you know that agents can’t enter your home without a judicial warrant that you have the right to remain silent,” she continued.

To paint a clearer picture of what we can expect this weekend, WBTV’s Bria Bell reached out to ICE.

A rep for the federal agency sent me this statement. It says in part:

“Due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”

Towards the end of the note, the message says: “90 percent of aliens arrested by ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations component in 2018 had either a criminal conviction(s), pending criminal charge(s), were an ICE fugitive, or illegally reentered the country after previously being removed.”

Arteaga says the biggest takeaway for her in all of this is that regardless of a person’s immigration status, these are people who belong to families and if they’re ripped away from loved ones, the impact is damaging.

“I think it’s a question of what are our values as a country and if we’re okay with rounding up families and putting this type of strain on children.”

Arteaga says her group is also giving advice on what to do if someone you know is arrested by ICE.

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