Misinformation is a dangerous thing when it’s in the hands of the wrong people. Throughout the weekend, there were a number of reports that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency conducted a series of ‘unprecedented’ enforcement actions in a number of cities across the nation. While the reporting that the raids were conducted was accurate, painting them as ‘unprecedented’ is where the reporting fell apart.
As the Chicago Tribune reports, fear among immigrant communities is at an all-time high. Specifically, there’s a great deal of fear that Trump’s ‘deportation force’ will come in and swoop them up at a moment’s notice and without explanation. The mainstream media is pouncing on that fear and ramping up the rhetoric that the ICE raids are ‘unlike anything we have seen,’ but there’s a slight problem with that reporting.
The ICE raids from this weekend are merely a continuation of President Obama’s policies, and there was nary a peep when raids were conducted on his watch. ICE officials have been as clear as day that the raids are par for the course and not in the slightest bit unusual.
"ICE does not use checkpoints, nor do we use sweeping raids. We use targeted enforcement actions against specific individuals to make these arrests," according to an email statement from ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez.
That hasn’t done much to allay fears - or prevent others from ratcheting those fears up as much as possible.
"We're not trying to sow hysteria here, so we're not reporting rumors. But it is fair to say we are seeing new tactics across the country," according to Elizabeth Alex of immigrant advocacy group CASA.
"Donald Trump has effectively created a way to deport individuals who have been accused, charged or convicted of anything from murder to jaywalking," claims Angelica Salas of immigrant rights group CHIRLA.
Quite simply, agencies that are aimed towards assisting immigrants are ramping up the fear. A message along the lines of ‘stay on the right side of the law and you will be fine’ just may help allay some of them, but that has been missing from reports and statements thus far. Add it all up, and it’s little wonder that members of the immigrant community are scared to death right now, but it’s pretty stunning that their ‘fiercest advocates’ are the ones making sure they feel that way.
Source: Chicago Tribune
Photo: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann/Flickr