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Threat of immigration raids incites fears across U.S.

The Trump administration said Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids would begin Sunday in cities across the country, targeting undocumented immigrants who have received deportation orders. Immigrants and activists were prepared, but by the afternoon, there were no signs of a massive law enforcement operation. NewsHour Weekend’s Ivette Feliciano reports from New York City amid ongoing protests.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Good evening and thank you for joining us this Sunday, July 14. I'm Hari Sreenivasan. We're on the road here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In exactly one year, the Democratic National Convention will be here. It's the first time in history that either party has come here to begin the final leg of the presidential campaign.The newly built Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks will welcome thousands of visitors and delegates from across the country. It is not a coincidence that Wisconsin is an important battleground in the 2020 election. We'll have more on that, and more from here in Wisconsin, after the news summary.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Before arriving at his Virginia golf club this morning, the President of the United States attacked four members of Congress on Twitter, suggesting that they should "go back" to the "places from which they came."

    In the first of three tweets President Trump referenced "progressive Democratic congresswomen who quote, "originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe."

    It's likely Mr. Trump was targeting four Democratic women, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who represents New York and was born there, Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts who was born in Cincinnati, Representative Rashida Tlaib of Michigan who was born in Detroit and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota–

    All are U.S. citizens, only Omar was born in a foreign country. In his second tweet Mr. Trump said quote, "why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." In the third the President wrote, "…You can't leave fast enough. I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!"

    The Speaker of the House responded, "Rather than attack members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy."

    The tweets came on the day the administration said was the beginning of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in cities across the across the country targeting undocumented immigrants who have received deportation orders.

    Immigrants and activists were prepared, but by this afternoon, there was no sign of a massive law enforcement operation. Newshour Weekend's Ivette Feliciano has the latest from New York City where protests continued today.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Hari, here in New York, there have been a number of protests, like the one you see behind me here in this heavily immigrant neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens.

    The main message here is one of communities coming together to protect families and individuals who are at risk of being swept up by immigration authorities. Immigrant rights advocates and lawyers say they have been preparing for these raids ever since President Trump announced them on Twitter weeks ago.

  • Jackie Zammuto, Witness, Program Manager:

    People are changing the way that they act. Some people are choosing not to go to work because of announcements about the raids. They're not taking their children to school or to summer camp. We're even hearing that people aren't showing up to court to go to the regular immigration check-ins. Or in some cases not even to report things like domestic violence because they're scared of the repercussions they might face.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Jackie Zammuto works for Witness, an international human rights organization that trains people on how to legally film what they say are manipulative tactics by federal agents when they arrest undocumented immigrants.

  • Jackie Zammuto:

    They're known to use tactics that trick people out of their homes that are misleading. For example, they'll show up in unmarked cars or wearing uniforms that say police when it's actually immigration enforcement. They do not have the authorization to enter people's homes without consent or without a judicial warrant. And they do try to trick people into letting them in.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Witness and other immigrant rights organizations are disseminating "Know Your Rights" information to those being targeted by ICE, which includes things like not opening the door for agents when they come knocking.

    They also encourage immigrants to form a buddy system so that everyone is accounted for and not lost in the shuffle. That's because of the supposed "collateral" arrests of individuals who aren't being targeted by ICE, but who might end up being detained anyway.

  • Ravi Ragbir, New Sanctuary Coalition:

    They're taping their windows, they're heading into the basement, they're locking their doors, they're not coming out, you know, for the next few days, just trying to weather this out. That's how terrified people are.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    Longtime immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir is Executive Director of the New Sanctuary Coalition. He also happens to be undocumented. He says last night the group received reports about federal agents in Brooklyn and in Harlem. Ragbir says federal raids aren't new under the Trump Administration, but the heightened level of fear they produce certainly is.

  • Ravi Ragbir:

    So it ultimately is not different. Obama is the deporter in chief. He deported more–over 3 million people. A lot of our families have been destroyed. What is the difference now is that this administration is coming and coming at it with the violence.

  • Ivette Feliciano:

    The New Sanctuary Coalition also pairs hundreds of undocumented immigrants with volunteers who accompany and advocate for them in immigration proceedings and it plans to continue organizing protests like this one in the coming days as immigration raids continue.

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