Immigration raids are not exclusive to the Trump administration; undocumented people in this country have long feared the threat of ICE raids since the department's conception.
Both the department and its subsequent raids started under George W. Bush’s administration and expanded under Barack Obama’s presidency. Now, with Trump, who has followed through on his campaign promise of being aggressive toward the immigrant community, ICE raids are sparking fear in undocumented communities, as it’s being reported that the Department of Homeland Security will conduct raids beginning on Sunday.
These raids serve two purposes. One is to arrest and detain those who are undocumented, and the other is to create an element of chaos and fear in undocumented communities. As with the administration's child separation policy, the point is to deter migrants and refugees from coming into the country.
It’s important to remember when we hear about these egregious immigration policies that it is Congress who funds ICE, and by continuing to fund the Department of Homeland Security, they continue to fund these ICE raids by default. It is pertinent to do more than just be angry; there are various steps of action we can take to support those who are undocumented.
Here are four things you can do to support undocumented people during threats of raids.
1. See something, say something.
It’s reported that the raids will be taking place in ten major cities: New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, San Francisco, New Orleans and Baltimore. If you will be in one of these cities during a possible raid, make sure to document and share when you see ICE vehicles and a raid occurring. It is best to film or take a picture because often false information is spread to add to the element of chaos. When sharing a picture or video, make sure to also include the location and time that ICE was spotted. This can help those who could be threatened by an ICE raid to avoid arrest and deportation.
2. Don’t allow them in.
Unless they have a warrant with a specific person's name on it, ICE agents do not have the right to enter private property. This means if you’re a business and ICE is trying to come in to arrest one of your employees, you can refuse to let them in by keeping your doors locked. This applies to undocumented people, too; you don’t have to let ICE in your home without seeing a warrant with your name on it signed from a judge. Here is an ACLU guide that explains more about what your rights are when it comes to ICE.
3. Donate to immigrant-focused bail bonds.
There are organizations who focus primarily on bailing out people who have been arrested due to immigration status. Here’s a list from the National Bail Fund Network on a list of organizations you can donate to:
National: Freedom for Immigrants, Haitian Immigrant Bond Assistance Project, LGBTQ Freedom Fund, RAICES Bond Fund
Arizona: Pima Monthly Meeting Immigration Bond Fund
California: Bay Area Immigration Bond Fund, Immigrant Families Defense Fund, Orange County Justice Fund, Borderlands Get Free Fund, Al Otro Lado – Vida Libre Bond Fund
Colorado: Immigrant Freedom Fund of Colorado
Connecticut: Immigrant Bail Fund
Iowa: Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project
Massachusetts: Beyond Bail & Legal Defense Fund
Michigan: Kent County I-Bond for our Neighbor's Defense Fund
Minnesota: Minnesota Freedom Fund
Nevada: Las Vegas Bond Family Unity Bond Fund at Arriba Workers Center
New Hampshire: NH Conference UCC Immigrant & Refugee Support Group
New York: LIFE Bond Fund, New York Immigrant Freedom Fund
Ohio: 3R Fund for Immigrants
Texas: Fronterizo Fianza Fund, Hutto Community Deportation Defense & Bond Fund, RAICES Texas Bond Fund
Vermont: Vermont Freedom Bail Fund
Virginia: Cville Immigrant Fond Fund
Washington: Fair Fight Immigrant Bond Fund
4. Vote out your representative if they support threatening policies toward the undocumented community.
Whether it’s the national or local level, your representative has a direct impact on immigration policies. Whether it’s sharing driver license information with ICE or voting to increase funding to the border wall, if you’re not happy with this country's policies, vote the people out who are creating them.
The immigration crisis in this country is manufactured. How is a country built on colonization and genocide able to decide who is allowed to become a citizen or not? War and imperialism, in many instances where the U.S. has benefitted, play a role in why people desire to migrate to this country in the first place. Climate change and its impact on natural resources will also play a factor in the near future.
It is up to us as individuals to stand up against the inhumanity that is being imposed on people in this country. The treatment of undocumented people in this country is horrendous, and like the prison industrial complex, the criminalizing of people based on citizenship must also be destroyed. Until then, we must work to support and help protect those who are at the greatest risk.