‘On a mission to destroy families’: ICE Agents Target Migrants In Once Safe Spaces


By Sabrina Siddiqui
The Guardian (7/14/18)

It was an ordinary Friday on the job for Pablo Villavicencio, a delivery man at the Nonna Delia’s pizzeria in Queens, New York.

The father of two pulled up with a bulk lunch order at Fort Hamilton, an army base about a half hour from the restaurant. But unlike previous deliveries , this time Villavicencio, an undocumented immigrant, was arrested by federal immigration authorities and taken to a New Jersey jail.

Villavicencio, 35, was fast-tracked for deportation despite holding no criminal record. Had it not been for intense media scrutiny of his case, Villavicencio might not have been granted reprieve by a federal judge last month – which temporarily stalled his deportation but left him in federal custody.

But his case is far from unique.

USA Today found that an average of 4,143 undocumented immigrants without a criminal record have been arrested each month under the Trump administration. 

A month later, an elderly couple attempted to visit their pregnant daughter-in-law and her husband at another military base in New York.

Margarito Silva and his wife, Concepcion Barrios, both undocumented immigrants, arrived at Fort Drum on the Fourth of July holiday. The couple carried the same identification cards – available to New York City residents regardless of immigration status – that they had used to visit family on other bases before.

They, too, were arrested by Ice.

Stories like those of Villavicencio, Silva and Barrios put faces and names to the targets of Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, which has instilled fresh fears of deportation in communities across America as they go about their daily lives.

Advocacy groups say the Trump administration’s reach is unfettered, as evidenced by the sharp rise in noncriminal arrests.

Noncriminal arrests surge

Under the president’s directive, which dramatically expanded the scope of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), immigration arrests rose 41% in 2017 compared with the same period from 2016. Noncriminal arrests, Ice’s own data showed, increased by 171%. …

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  • ICE Agents Claims Of ‘Just Following Orders’ May Not Shield Them From Personal Liability For Children’s Suffering, Legal Scholars Warn — A new report finds that individual Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents could be held personally liable for the suffering of families and children under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy—and warns that the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court could harm the chance of anyone being held accountable for the forcible separation of families. U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw’s order that the government reunite all children under the age of five with their parents went largely unheeded yesterday, as the court-imposed deadline passed with fewer than half of the children being returned to their families. … Read the Rest


  • Occupy Ice Activists Face Gun-Wielding Counter-Protesters — As Occupy Ice camps continue to spread across the US, some activists have warned that they have been subjected to intimidation by armed, Trump-supporting counter-protesters. Occupy Ice Louisville, in Kentucky, has been the subject of protests by a group called American Action Force 3% over the weekends of 7-8 July and 14-15 July, demonstrators said. American Action Force 3%, an anti-immigration group, told the Guardian it planned to subject Occupy Ice protests to the same treatment this coming weekend. At least 11 Occupy Ice encampments have sprung up around the countryover the past month, in response to the Trump administration’s policy of separating families seeking to enter the US. Most of the camps are outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement buildings. But some camp occupants have told the Guardian that an organized counter-protest movement is growing. … Read the Rest

(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )