Rumors of ICE Removals Cause Fear among Mexican Community
WESLACO - Members of the Mexican community living in the U.S. illegally are worried their days in the country are numbered.
People said numerous rumors of imminent deportations arose among fellow nationals. Many said they also have to be vigilant under the new administration.
Mexican citizen Marcelino Nino resides in McAllen. He believes President Trump will deport everyone who is on U.S. soil illegally.
“It’s a crime for us to be here if we don’t have documents or even those that do. If it’s a crime we’ll go back and we’ll see what happens with the country,” he said.
The McAllen resident said he thinks federal law enforcement is even looking to deport people living in the country legally.
“From what I understand it’s even the people with papers could get deported,” he said. “I think since he has the power right now, he thinks that what he’s doing is right.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said their deportations only surround so-called “criminal aliens and other threats to the public.”
ICE spokesperson Nina Pruneda said it’s a guideline the agency has followed for decades. She sent the following statement in regards to opposite claims:
“ICE regularly conducts targeted enforcement operations during which additional resources and personnel are dedicated to apprehending deportable foreign nationals. All enforcement activities are conducted with the same level of professionalism and respect that ICE officers exhibit every day. The focus of these operations is no different than the routine, targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Team on a daily basis.
ICE will not confirm an operation prior to its completion, nor will ICE speculate on future operational activities. Reports of ICE checkpoints and sweeps are false, dangerous and irresponsible. These reports create mass panic and put communities and law enforcement personnel in unnecessary danger. Any groups falsely reporting such activities are doing a disservice to those they claim to support.”
Nino said people in the U.S. illegally only come to better themselves.
ICE said removals by their agents have been the lowest in the last eight years. In fiscal year 2008, ICE deported more than 369,000 people.
The number decreased by more than 128,000 deportations in fiscal year 2016. The agency said 92 percent of all interior removals were previously convicted of a crime.
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