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'Not On Our Watch': Rights Groups Rally to Help Immigrant Communities Ahead of Reported Weekend Raids by ICE

"ICE is doing this to not just rip apart hundreds of families apart but also to terrorize everyone else. This is the definition of terrorism."

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), officers arrest an undocumented Mexican immigrant during a raid in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn on April 11, 2018 in New York City. ICE detentions are frequently controversial in New York, considered a "sanctuary city" for undocumented immigrants, and ICE receives little or no cooperation from local law enforcement. ICE said that officers arrested 225 people for violation of immigration laws during the 6-day operation, the largest in New York City in recent years. (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Ahead of raids the Trump administration is reportedly set to begin on Sunday, rights groups on Friday urgently circulated information to immigrant communities and families nationwide to ensure their rights are known and protections are in place. 

Three officials with knowledge of Trump's directive to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told the Washington Post that up to 2,000 families facing deportation orders could be targeted in 10 major cities, including Houston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Denver, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore, San Francisco, Newark, and Washington, D.C. 

The news of the planned raids comes days after the president threatened that he would soon begin deporting "millions" of undocumented immigrants.

To prepare communities, groups including United We Dream and Raices posted on social media information about immigrants' rights.  

If ICE agents come to an immigrant's home, one infographic made by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) read, he or she should not open the door. Instead, families should demand to see a warrant for arrest and exercise their right to remain silent and speak with a lawyer.

"Don't give personal information or your fingerprints, or answer any questions about your status," wrote FIRM. "Don't hand over your ID or papers to the ICE agents. Don't sign any forms or documents (paper or digital) that the ICE agents give you without speaking with an attorney."

FIRM also compiled a list of ways communities and organizers can help immigrants ahead of the raids.

"Create an emergency list of a large number of lawyers that will be ready to roll immediately" to provide legal aid, FIRM wrote. "Prepare a database of the names and numbers of individuals who can help with translation and transportation...Identify local people in the town where the raid happened that can be ready to brief lawyers when they come."

Rights advocates called on community members to connect with social justice groups in their area and vow to help undocumented immigrants if they saw a raid taking place, by familiarizing themselves with immigrants' rights during a raid.

Rights advocates and lawmakers condemned Trump's reported plan, which acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan had warned ICE would likely separate children from their parents, according to the Post.

"ICE raiding our communities is domestic terrorism," tweeted the immigration legal aid non-profit Raices. "ICE is doing this to not just rip apart hundreds of families apart but also to terrorize everyone else. This is the definition of terrorism."

Trump is reportedly intent on carrying out the widespread raids despite the McAleenan's warnings.

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