By Doug Porter
Guadalupe García de Rayos was taken into custody by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Phoenix during a routine check-in with the agency on Wednesday.
Seven people were arrested as dozens of immigration activists blocked the gates surrounding the office in an effort to stop several vans and a bus from leaving. The mother of two was photographed attempting to communicate with her children from inside one of the vehicles, which are used to transport people in ICE custody to detention centers, or to Arizona’s border with Mexico for deportation.
Observers fear this could be the beginning of a nationwide crackdown, targeting as many as 8 million people.
In 2008, according to The New York Times, García de Rayos was arrested for having a fake Social Security card during one of then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s work raids. Puente Arizona, an immigrant advocacy group, told reporters the 36- year-old woman came to the U.S. as a 14-year-old and now has two children.
From the Associated Press:
The protesters said they initially succeeded in stopping the vehicles from leaving, but said they later left the grounds by another exit. They didn’t know if Garcia de Rayos had still been aboard.
Her arrest came just days after the Trump administration broadened regulations under which some people will be deported.
“We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants,” Rayos’ lawyer, Ray A. Ybarra Maldonado, told the New York Times after leaving the immigration building.
From USA Today:
Trump’s order is a major departure from former president Barack Obama’s deportation priorities, which focused primarily on deporting undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes and allowing those with long ties to the U.S. and no significant criminal background to remain in the U.S.
In a statement, ICE officials said only that Garcia de Rayos was detained because of her prior conviction, which stems from a work-site raid almost a decade ago. They did not comment on whether they diverged from the previous check-in specifically because of the recent executive order.
“It has 100% to do with the executive order,” said Ray Ybarra-Maldonado, a Phoenix immigration lawyer who is representing Garcia de Rayos. “Her case is no different than the last time she checked in. The facts are 100% the same. The only difference is the priorities for removal have now changed.”
Much More Than ‘Bad Hombres’
The vast overhaul of immigration law enforcement ordered by President Trump during his first week in office stripped away most restrictions on who should be deported, opening the door for roundups and detentions on a massive scale.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Far from targeting only “bad hombres,” as Trump has said repeatedly, his new order allows immigration agents to detain nearly anyone they come in contact with who has crossed the border illegally. People could be booked into custody for using food stamps or if their child receives free school lunches.
The deportation targets are a much larger group than those swept up in the travel bans that sowed chaos at airports and seized public attention over the past week. Fewer than 1 million people came to the U.S. over the past decade from the seven countries from which most visitors are temporarily blocked.
Deportations of this scale, which has not been publicly totaled before, could have widely felt consequences: Families would be separated. Businesses catering to immigrant customers may be shuttered. Crops could be left to rot, unpicked, as agricultural and other industries that rely on immigrant workforces face labor shortages. U.S. relations could be strained with countries that stand to receive an influx of deported people, particularly in Latin America. Even the Social Security system, which many immigrants working illegally pay into under fake identification numbers, would take a hit.
The Intercept published an analysis of the administration’s executive orders, including interviews with legal experts who concluded the president’s plans are laying the foundations for an aggressive mass deportation apparatus.
…Trump’s order calls for the revitalization of two deeply controversial immigration enforcement initiatives: the widely reported program known as Secure Communities and a lesser known, though arguably more aggressive program known as 287(g).
Spearheaded by the Bush administration and expanded under Obama, the DHS-administered Secure Communities program partnered ICE with local jails to facilitate the sharing of biometric data between detention facilities and ICE officials.
After years of criticism from immigration advocates, who argued that the program routinely went far beyond targeting violent offenders, the Obama administration ended Secure Communities in November 2014, replacing it with a similar initiative known as the Priority Enforcement Program.
The second program slated for expansion under the Trump administration, 287(g), permits partnerships between local jails and ICE agents as well, but also goes a step further, allowing local and state law enforcement officers on the street to be deputized as immigration officials. Investigations by the Department of Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union have repeatedly linked implementation of 287(g) to systemic patterns of racial profiling and constitutional rights violations in Latino communities.
Will San Diego Be a Sanctuary City?
The Arizona raid comes as organizers with Activist San Diego and VoicesRally are gearing up for the March in Solidarity with Immigrants, slated for Saturday, February 18.
According to their Facebook event page:
We are calling on all people to unite and march in support of Immigrants and Refugees.
We are demanding that the republican San Diego Mayor Faulconer declares San Diego a Sanctuary City. While SD has the busiest border crossing in the world, Mayor Faulconer has taken no action to protect immigrants against Trump’s policies.
11:00 Rally adjacent to Horton Plaza
11:30 Speeches adjacent to Horton Plaza
12:00 March to Federal Building
12:30 Speeches at Federal Building
Immigrants harvest our food, build our cities and fight in our military. They are our doctors, lawyers, scientists and executives. Immigrants are Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, every other faith in between, and many practice no religion at all. They are people of all skin colors and backgrounds. They are diverse. They are beautiful.
Please share this event furiously with everyone you know.
You’d Think They Could Talk to Each Other
Also on February 18, at the same time(!), an artist group calling itself Rage Against Fascism Musings and Art is holding a rally at Waterfront Park by the County Building.
The Immigrants Make America Great San Diego Facebook event page (which has drawn more interest than the aforementioned group) says:
Please join us at Waterfront Park in San Diego. We will be standing in solidarity at the same date as our brothers and sisters in Los Angeles and hopefully in many other places across our beautiful nation!
The time is NOW. We will stand with those who are afraid and those who have been marginalized by Trump’s executive orders.Immigration shapes how the world views America.
Immigrants are innovators, teachers, doctors, parents, families, neighbors, they are ALL of us.
Immigrants makeup America’s culture and open our eyes and hearts to new worlds.
We will not be a globally isolated nation!
Our diversity makes America great. Bring your signs, bring your love and energy and let’s stand in solidarity! Please join us at this event/share this with everyone you know! THIS IS A PEACEFUL gathering/demonstration that has been approved by the county. All ages welcome! Please do not put others at risk and steer clear of streets. Let’s show our nation that LOVE TRUMPS HATE!
I’m sure these groups have Very Important Reasons why two events are scheduled for the same time. Maybe somebody should make an effort to communicate.
UPDATE: I have been assured that the two groups are working towards a common ground. Look for an update in my weekly calendar of events.
UPDATE #2: The two groups have announced they are merging their events. Yay! Common sense! Details in the Weekly Progressive Calendar as soon as they become available.
One Other Thing…
— Lori Saldaña 4 SD (@Lori4SanDiego) February 9, 2017
Looking for some action? Check out the Weekly Progressive Calendar, published every Friday in this space, featuring Demonstrations, Rallies, Teach-ins, Meet Ups and other opportunities to get your activism on.
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