New York immigrants are preparing for another weekend of possible raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and city officials want them to know they are not alone.
A rally was held Friday in lower Manhattan, where a host of elected officials denounced the Trump administration’s immigration policies.
"There’s no telling what will happen next weekend … it is important that New Yorkers stay vigilant," Rep. Yvette D. Clarke told the small crowd that gathered in Foley Square despite the oppressive heat. "I believe these ICE raids are bad for New York City, bad for America, and bad for the 9th Congressional District"
Rep. Nydia Velázquez, who recently visited a migrant detention center in Texas, called the situation along the United States-Mexico border "shameful."
"It is shameful for Americans to see the images of children crying," Velázquez continued. "We, the American people, are here to say: Not on our watch are we going to violate decency."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that ICE agents have been spotted in city neighborhoods at least eight times since last Saturday, when the Trump administration launched an enforcement sweep that was projected to target up to 2,000 people living in the country illegally. It wasn’t clear if those incidents were related to the nationwide raids, but de Blasio said they were unsuccessful regardless.
Still, the city is on alert and has deployed personnel to inform the public of their rights.
A person approached by a federal agent has the right to remain silent, even if they are asked for their immigration status or where they were born. They do not have to sign any papers and have the right to speak with an attorney. They do not have to open the door of their home for ICE or any other federal agent, unless a court-ordered warrant is presented. And, unless there is a court-ordered warrant, they do not have to present documents proving their immigration status.
Estonia Mason, 41, was passing by the rally with her son, Malachi, 5, and goddaughter Nashania, 8, when she felt compelled to stay.
“It’s a shame that this has to occur,” said Mason, a first-grade substitute teacher who lives and works in Brooklyn.
She likened President Donald Trump’s approach to immigrant communities to the Nazi Party, and said she hoped he would be impeached. "What’s next? Modern-day concentration camps? Someone has to stop this," she added.
Meredith Fortin, 37, was holding signs that read, "I [heart] immigrant NY."
"I think at a time like this, given all of the attacks coming from the administration, we want to make sure we are showing up in support locally," said Fortin, who is the director of immigrant service support at the New York Immigration Coalition.