Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is getting so brazen in their raids that they are now detaining undocumented students on their way to school. Even worse, in addition to breaking up families, these detentions have been a blow to undocumented students’ overall school attendance.
According to their own policies, ICE doesn’t conduct raids at sensitive locations like schools, churches or hospitals, unless it’s an emergency. ThinkProgress, who first broke this troubling development, points out that this is simplynot true, and this unwillingness to stick to their own rules is really messing with kids who are finding academic success.
“That’s a huge deal with students who have been doing really well in school, really improving, and now feel like they can’t come to school,” Rebecca Costas, an English Language Learner teacher at Myers Park High School in Charlotte,N.C., told ThinkProgress. “This has a lot of impact on student behavior. Their experiences in their native countries were bad enough, and the journey over was very traumatic. A lot of kids coming over here are clearly exhibiting signs of PTSD, depression, mental health issues — these current raids have just exacerbated that.”
In North Carolina, attendance has gone down by as much at 20 percent in certain areas directly because of these raids. A lot of these teens are being nabbed at the bus stop while they wait.
You can read more about this distressing trend here.
Although communities across the country – particularly the Latinx community – continue to be ravaged by Coronavirus, U.S. immigration officials are still enforcing inhumane immigration policies.
In cities across the U.S., Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials made thousands of arrests over recent weeks. These arrests are part of the largest immigration sweep since the pandemic began and mean that more people will be put in danger as they’re forced into detention centers which have become a hotbed of Coronavirus infections.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers took thousands of people into custody in 24 cities across the country.
A six-week ICE operation resulted in more than 2,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, in 24 cities across the U.S. The operation, which ran from July to August, led to arrests in communities across the country, CBS News reports.
Officials charge that the enforcement efforts were focused on those with criminal convictions and charges, but they admit that there were also arrests of some undocumented immigrants with clean records.
As part of the operation, ICE agents made “at-large” arrests, which could take place at residences, worksites and traffic stops, across the country, including in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, where the ICE field office apprehended the most immigrants. ICE said the operation targeted undocumented immigrants and others subject to deportation who had been charged or convicted of a crime involving a victim.
Asked by CBS News how the recent arrests of immigrants without convictions or charges conformed with that announcement, Henry Lucero, ICE’s executive associate director, offered a clarification of the so-called “enforcement posture.”
“We never said we were going to stop arresting individuals,” Lucero said in a call with reporters. “We said we were going to prioritize and focus on those that are public safety threats. And that’s exactly what we did during this operation.”
He added, “We never stated we’re … going to stop arresting any type of immigration violator. We continue to arrest immigration violators. We use discretion when appropriate. That will remain in effect until further notice.”
Although ICE says it’s limited its enforcement activities because of the pandemic, this is the largest sweep in months.
It took awhile for ICE to finally adjust its enforcement posture once the pandemic hit, but ICE did finally announce certain changes. The agency said it’s limited its operations to avoid outbreaks among detainees – and the hard numbers to paint this picture. So far this fiscal year, ICE has made 94,5000 arrests inside communities, compared to 143,000 at this time last year.
In March, ICE announced that it would focus its enforcement efforts on those with certain criminal records and those deemed a public threat.
ICE and its enforcement priorities under President Trump have become a focal point of the nation’s broader debate around immigration, with some Democratic lawmakers calling for the agency to be abolished. Advocates for immigrants have also criticized ICE’s response to the spread of the coronavirus inside its sprawling immigration detention system, which is the largest in the world.
Meanwhile, many of these migrants will be forced into detention centers that are becoming hubs of Covid-19 infections.
Already the 2020 fiscal year (which ends September 30) is tied with 2006 for the highest number of migrant deaths in ICE custody – the vast majority of whom have died of Covid-19 related complications. Just this week, a 50-year-old man from Honduras became the system’s latest victim and the 19th to die so far.
Meanwhile, more than 5,300 immigrants have tested for the Coronavirus while in custody. That number doesn’t take into account the risks fro communities and employees.
ICE says that they’re making adjustments, pointing out that the agency’s detainee population has plummeted during the pandemic, declining to roughly 21,000 this week. However, raids like the ones over the last few weeks will likely increase that population.
“There is still a pandemic raging,” Reichlin-Melnick told CBS News. “ICE should not be engaging in large-scale enforcement actions that send people to detention centers where the virus is rampant.”
Events across the world have been canceled because of Covid-19. This includes concerts, music festivals, Pride parades, and major sporting events. Yet, for high school seniors, their high school will end without the same traditions that many have enjoyed like prom and graduation.
LeBron James celebrated the graduating class of 2020 on a special night on television.
“You should’ve had a real graduation, I know. You should’ve had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy,” James said during the broadcast.
James continued: “Our school are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020, as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment. And now, it’s time to go to a new place.”
The special was filled with celebrities and public figures offering students words of encouragement as they close this chapter of their lives.
“Congratulations to everyone graduating,” Bad Bunny told the class of 2020 in Spanish. “I know that we are going through a very difficult and strong time for use, but we have to stay strong and don’t forget to be thankful and smile, even though I know that sometimes we don’t even want to smile. We have to look for a way to do it and stay positive.”
The musician added: “Work hard on everything that you set out to do, on all your goals, but remember that it doesn’t matter what we achieve. The most important thing is to respect each other. It’s respect and the values that we put into practice day to day that say who you are. They are what define us as people. Success is not measured in money. Success, to me, is the experiences and memories that we carry in our hearts forever.”
Zendaya gave the students, and teachers, a special message for the commencement ceremony.
The actress gave a special shoutout at the beginning of her speech to teachers. Zendaya noted that her mother is a teacher so she has first-hand knowledge of how hard teachers are working during this time. Hosting classes via Zoom with children is not the easiest way to teach in the world.
Zendaya then turned her talk to the graduating seniors. While the viral outbreak has interrupted the lives of billions of people, graduation is not the only defining moment of being a high school senior. Instead, Zendaya tries to remind the graduating class of 2020 that it is a series of life events that define your senior year. There is so much that people go through from the time they start school to the time they finish that truly define them and their experience. One moment, while memorable, is not the only thing that makes senior year the experience it is.
The class of 2020 was treated to a special shoutout from President Barack Obama.
Pres. Obama started by giving the students the same tired and true line. He highlighted how the adults that are making decisions are not all-knowing and are in fact learning as they go. This is something that we have all heard when we were younger but, for some reason, coming from Pres. Obama, it sounds empowering and calming. It really reminded people of what a president should sound like when addressing the American public.
Pres. Obama did call on the students to act differently then they had seen from some people in power. Specifically, Pres. Obama wanted to let students know that there was a right and a wrong way to respond to major events.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy — that’s how little kids think,” Pres. Obama told the seniors. He added. “Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up.”
The special ended with a performance from the Jonas Brothers and Karol G.
“Taping our performance was amazing to me,” Karol G told Billboard about her performance. “I enjoyed it as if it were my own graduation. To have the opportunity to reach so many people, give them a good time despite all we’re going through, to celebrate with them this special date … It meant a lot to me.”