The last week of September U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) held immigrant detentions in cities that consider themselves sanctuary cities throughout the United States. ICE has called the operation “Operation Safe City.” In a period of four days they arrested at least 500 people.
The term “sanctuary cities” refers to cities that do not share with federal immigration officers information about the legal status of their residents regardless of the residents’ criminal history. For example, they do not give information about the legal status of persons detained in their criminal system nor do they inform immigration officers when a person is going to be released from jail after completing their sentence.
Although “Operation Safe City” is only the most recent in a serious of anti-immigrant actions taken by the Trump Administration, the promoters of human rights have continued obtaining important victories. For example, in Texas, a federal judge stopped a law that attempted to prohibit Texan cities from limiting the application of immigration laws within their cities. Also in Chicago, a federal judge decided that Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, could not continue with his threats of withholding public funds in sanctuary cities. In Los Angeles, where a high number of detentions were seen, the mayor, Eric Garcetti, signed this past March an executive order reaffirming the city’s policy of not cooperating with immigration officers. Also, on October 5th the governor of California approved a “sanctuary state” law, expanding the local protections already provided by cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco statewide.
If you want more information about your rights in case of an immigration raid or if immigration officers arrive at your house, consult the “know your rights” materials here and here. You can also contact Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc. at 1-855-234-9699 (USA) or 01-800-590-1773 (México).