Illinois residents prepare for possible nationwide ICE raids this weekend


Allen J. Schaben//Los Angeles Times/TNS

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement office. Illinois residents and local politicians have been preparing for a potential wave of raids in Chicago after a Twitter announcement by President Trump earlier this week.

Marissa Martinez, Summer Editor

Updated 6/22 at 3:40pm to reflect new information

The possible raids have been pushed back, according to a tweet by President Trump posted Saturday afternoon. Trump said the “Illegal Immigration Removal Process” would be delayed for two weeks “at the request of Democrats.”

The possibility of mass deportations has prompted a high response rate from immigration activism organizations across the country over the past few days.

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Illinois residents and local politicians have been preparing for a potential wave of raids by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency following a Twitter announcement by President Trump on Monday. They are expected to begin as early as this weekend.

Trump’s tweet allegedly caught ICE officials by surprise, and his request to “remove the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States” likely surpasses the agency’s current resources. However, the announcement has still frightened many undocumented residents.

In February, ICE sent letters to 2,000 households who had already received orders from judges in absentia to leave the country, encouraging families to self-report by March after not showing up to court. An agency official told CNN the families would likely be moved to detention centers following their arrest. Raids targeting these households might occur in 10 cities where the Department of Justice expedited immigration cases of recently arrived families — including Chicago, Houston, New York and Los Angeles.

In April, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the former ICE Acting Director Ronald Vitiello both left the Trump administration in part because of similar raid plans and “bad policy.”

Several Illinois politicians and local officials have reacted to the potential raids over the past few days.

Mayor Steve Hagerty released a statement Saturday morning, reaffirming Evanston’s “Welcoming City” policy, an ordinance that prohibits city officials, staff and police from asking an individual’s immigration status, among other protections.Hagerty also said city police will not assist ICE “in any enforcement actions.”

“The Evanston Police Department is unaware of any enforcement action planned here,” Hagerty said in the statement. “The Police Department will monitor the situation throughout the weekend.”

Hagerty encouraged residents to check the City of Evanston and Evanston Police Department Twitters for more information.

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) announced in a Friday statement, “I want to do everything in my power to prevent our community residents from deportation and family separation.” She also listed resources for immigrants on the page.

Schakowsky’s comments come after some Evanston residents worried about a Cook County Homeland Security vehicle parked at the Custer Fair last weekend — while no arrests were made by anyone inside, the van’s presence caused fear, according to a circulating petition. The page asks city officials to ban such vehicles from future community events and has collected over 420 signatures as of Friday night. The issue will be discussed at Monday’s council meeting.

In addition, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot stated she confirmed ICE did not have access to the Police Department’s databases with police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. In a statement, Lightfoot said she spoke to ICE leadership and objected to potential raids, adding that CPD would not cooperate with the federal agency.

Meanwhile, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed three pieces of legislation at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Friday concerning immigration. These include House Bills 2040 and 1637, which ban private immigration detention centers in the state and prohibit local law enforcement agencies from engaging with ICE, respectively.

This is a developing story.