by Robert Kimmel
Congresswoman Nita Lowey takes a dim view of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, (ICE,) nationwide raids scheduled to begin this weekend to apprehend and deport undocumented immigrants. She is also offering some advice to those who might be targeted locally.
“The Trump raids are designed to incite fear, weaken our communities, and tear families apart. Regardless of your immigration status, you have rights,” Lowey stated. “Know your rights, and share them with your friends and neighbors, because there is misinformation circulating.”
The raids were originally planned for June, but were delayed by ICE allegedly because early information released about the actions alerted many immigrant communities. This past Friday, President Trump declared the raids would start on Sunday, and be aimed at criminals who have been marked for deportation. ICE had not made public any specific plans.
Among the list of “Rights” distributed by Lowey’s office, was that if approached by ICE agents or Police, “You do not have to reveal your immigration status and have the right to remain silent.” Other points were listed under the heading, “If ICE agents Come to Your Door.” They included:
- You do NOT have to open your door
- Ask to see a search warrant through a window or slipped under the door
- A deportation warrant is not the same as a search warrant and does NOT authorize ICE agents to enter the home without permission.
- You have the right to refuse ICE permission to enter your home if the agents do not present a search warrant signed by a judge.
- If ICE enters without a valid warrant, ask for the agents’ names and badge numbers.
While the official word is that only those targeted for arrest would be apprehended, other reports contend that others on the scene without documentation, or legal status might be taken into custody by ICE agents.
In 2018, ICE agents burst through an open door of a Sleepy Hollow home to arrest Cristobal Paute. He was living there with his wife and three children, but was deported to Ecuador in July of last year. Paute, a house painter, had pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in 2009. The action caused concern among the Village’s Hispanic population, about half of its total residents.
Westchester has an immigration law which blocks support by local agencies to enforce ICE raids on homes or to turnover personal information to facilitate raids. County Executive George Latimer has said that Westchester will not become “an arm of ICE.” Rivertown villages, for the most part, have declined to have their police agencies pursue illegal immigrants other than those sought for criminal activity.
Lowey noted that anyone needing legal assistance should call the New York Liberty Defense Team, 1-800-566-7636.