Threat of Raids Are Un- American!
If this was a normal winter there would be the usual dread of ice, but on a 60°F Saturday in January, local pols and community leaders gathered at a press conference to inform on a more fear inducing type of ICE for some. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, started 2016 off by conducting a series of raids to collect and deport illegal immigrants. 121 adults and children were taken in raids in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina conducted over the New Year’s weekend. These raids are the first wave of a large-scale sweep of illegal immigrants who crossed the border last year, in particular those escaping violent conditions in Central America.
To address concerns and alert locals of their rights, a group of local leaders held a press conference right before Graham Avenue’s 3 Kings’ Day Parade. Standing in an impressive line of solidarity were Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Dep. Bklyn Borough President Diana Reyna, Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Assemblywoman Maritza Davila, and other local leaders.
Congresswoman Velazquez, echoed the words she said at the Washington D.C. press conference two days prior, “The Statue of Liberty, one of the great symbols of our nation has an inscription. It reads, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ If anyone is ‘tired and poor’ – would it not be the refugees from Central America fleeing violence and abuse and terror? Yet we are apprehending them, denying them basic legal representation and potentially deporting them. These raids are an affront to our core values and traditions!” In addition, she repeatedly urged those who find themselves arrested by ICE to get a lawyer. “[I’ve seen] those who don’t have lawyers get deported,” she said.
The crowd was also advised to be sure to see a warrant before allowing ICE officers into their homes. Overall the general gist was to alleviate fear and inform those who worry they are in jeopardy to know they have rights.
At this writing, no ICE raids have occurred in North Brooklyn.