Immigration raids turn Woodburn, Oregon, into a ghost townIn Woodburn, Oregon, Latinos aren’t a fringe minority. They are the very fabric of the town. Since President Trump’s immigration order, the dream many families worked decades to build has begun to unravel. Full story: http://trib.al/VQIN17w
This is what the fear of deportation can do to a town.
Woodburn, Ore. is a rural, agricultural town that has a population of about 25,000. It is Oregon’s largest city with a Latino majority (roughly 60 percent). According to The Oregonian, the Latino population — one quarter of the Latinos there are undocumented — is what helps the town thrive. Yet, the recent narrative of Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and detentions have struck fear into the heart of the town and it is the town that has begun to suffer. When ICE agents started to show up in the town, undocumented residents went into hiding rarely leaving their homes to work or even shop for food.
“Almost everybody in town is impacted,” Woodburn school superintendent Chuck Ransom told The Oregonian. “Everybody knows somebody or is related to somebody for whom that situation is real. Nobody can escape.”
The Oregonian has reported that business has dropped by a staggering 80 percent since ICE raids and detentions began in Woodburn. They further report that since the ’40s, Woodburn has a long history of being propped up and built by the same Latino community that is under attack now. For decades, the Latino community has helped to boost the economy in Oregon and Woodburn by working on the farms, now they are too scared to go out without being rounded up by ICE.
News broke over the weekend that President Trump would be delaying planned immigration raids throughout the country. He tweeted that the deportation operations would be postponed by two weeks to see if Congress can make changes to asylum laws and work out legislative groundwork with Democrats.
As news of the roundups became public knowledge on Friday, faith and immigration groups prepared and informed communities of their rights and procedures in case of an interaction with ICE officials. But the sudden abrupt reversal did little to relieve or reassure immigrants and their supporters.
Migrant communities across the country are becoming familiar with this feeling.
President Trump’s reversal came as immigrant advocates prepared undocumented immigrants for a highly publicized operation. ICE officials were expected to target more than 2,000 families with pending deportations orders. But even with a delay, fears are mounting for many who don’t know what to expect next for themselves and their families.
Marjorie Murillo, a community liaison specialist for Miami Dade Public Schools, says that President Trump’s delayed immigration raids do nothing but toy with immigrant communities livelihoods.
“We don’t trust him in any way,” Murillo told NBC News. “I’ve been calling and sending messages everywhere that they are postponed, but where I live, parents and everyone, they are never safe.”
This isn’t the first time President Trump has used immigration fear tactics to push for legislation.
Back in 2017, President Trump attempted to terminate the Obama-era program that protected so-called Dreamers, young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. It was a failed attempt to pressure Congress in passing an immigration bill that included new restrictions on legal immigration. Earlier this year, a 35-day government shutdown ended without Democrats agreeing to the president’s terms, funding for a border wall.
There has been pushback from politicians and immigration advocates that are calling the raids unjust.
According to CNN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called President Trump Friday night and asked him to call off the raids. It was the next day that the President would announce the delay. Pelosi approved of President Trump’s announced delay and said it would give Congress enough time to work on immigration reform.
“Mr. President, delay is welcome. Time is needed for comprehensive immigration reform. Families belong together,” Pelosi tweeted.
Some are calling the move a tactic to help benefit Trump’s effort to secure funding for immigration enforcement. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are currently in the midst of negotiating legislation to allocate funds to different agencies, that includes ICE. The agency is dealing with record large-scale migration of Central American families and unaccompanied children to the U.S.-Mexico border, currently at a 13-year high.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been one of the strongest advocates against ICE deportations. The organization says President Trump’s immigration policies have installed fears in communities across the country.
“Our communities shouldn’t have to live in fear that parents won’t come home from work, or kids won’t return from school, or a knock at the door could rip a family apart,” the ACLU said in a tweet. “This isn’t Donald Trump’s America, it’s ours. We can resist his deportation agenda — together.”
Many on social media are using their platform to share tips and advice in case an individual finds themselves interacting with ICE.
Within hours that news broke that immigration raids would be happening, people took to social media to share helpful tips. From informing people to stay in their homes and to not answer their doors, by the time President Trump announced the delay on Saturday, people were ready.
Images across social media showed ICE checkpoints and areas of interest where deportation officials might show up. But even as more time is given to prepare for the worst-case scenarios, many aren’t taking any risks.
“He’s making an announcement as if these deportations are not already happening,” Murillo said. “He’s saying if Democrats don’t do what I want them to do, deportations will start in two weeks. Deportations have been happening since he went into office. It’s coming, maybe it will turn a little bit, stay on guard. We can’t ever let our guard down.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning a raid in the early morning hours on Sunday in 10 cities.
It is being reported that the raids will target more than 2,000 families in cities with large migrant populations including Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, according to officials who remain anonymous.
Trump tweeted on Monday that ICE would begin deporting millions of undocumented immigrants throughout the U.S.
They are allegedly planning to use hotel rooms to house everyone until the family can be deported together and say they might even arrest individuals that can’t be deported immediately. They will most likely be released with ankle monitors, in cases such as parents whose children are U.S. citizens.
“Regardless of citizenship status, for workers — including teenagers, mothers, fathers, and those with medical issues — to be treated like enemy insurgents is beyond disturbing. It is terrible, barbaric, and inhumane.”