Covid-19 Opens New Doors for ICE

Written by Joaquin Cruz (News Writer)

As of January, the start of a pandemic caused by COVID-19 (coronavirus) has swept many states and even a full country into lockdown due to the growing fears of how contagious it is. As for North Americans, California went into a state of emergency as numbers were starting to rise of how many people in the country were diagnosed with the virus. San Francisco is one of the first places, as well as L.A. that had completely shut down, asking people to stay indoors for the time being to slow the process of it, but alongside the worry of COVID-19, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has also begun raiding homes more frequently while there is an opening making it very difficult for many families, workers, restaurant/shop owners, etc.

Not only are shops being shut down and losing money but with the worry of COVID-19, shop owners who are here illegally trying to make a living and ask for a better life are being arrested by ICE. These ICE raids started to become more frequent at the beginning of March and since then have been still going. Many businesses and organizers, as well as immigrant advocates, have been great against the arrests being made during the pandemic. About 45 different organizations and businesses of the area had signed letters asking for a halt to the arrests, but in response to the letter, ICE had said they’d be more cautious with the situation at hand but will continue the arrests. A senior campaign manager who is against the recklessness of ICE and their arrests says, “We think that the way that ICE is operating is reckless-” while David Marin, the director of enforcement and removal operations for ICE in L.A. says “We’re out here trying to protect the public by getting these criminal aliens off the street and out of our communities- Asking us to stop doing that basically gives those criminals another opportunity to maybe commit more crimes, to create more victims.” 

While ICE is going ahead and continuing the arrests of illegal immigrants. Some reporters that have gotten exact quotes from David Marin have begun to bring along hand sanitizer and wipes that ICE agents use while going on the long journey. Alongside the arrests though, there have been lots of people being cramped and shoved into the same trucks and the same spaces. With California on lockdown, you’d expect people to be against this but instead, there haven’t been any bills or anything done about this very large health caution being done by ICE agents and being allowed by David Marin. Not only has L.A. been a subject of the ICE raids but also N.Y.C. There was an order asking for at least 500 agents to go around and raid homes looking for illegal immigrants around the city. Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of NYC and a very frequent critic of Trump’s administration immigration enforcement agenda and policies stated “-question the level of effectiveness other than scaring people- If you’ve got the facts, and you’ve got the probable cause, get the judge to sign the order -If that happens, then there’s no choice. But we’re not going to do it simply on the basis of an ICE agent’s signature, in a world in which ICE has become highly politicized.” Overall, this is very interesting timing for ICE to continue raiding and doing so in a very rough impact. In a very recent update, the first ICE detainee had tested positive for coronavirus causing very great danger to the others in the radius of the one detainee. No further information from the Trump administration or from the ICE holding station in New Jersey that was holding the detainee. With this to have happened recently, lots of advocates have been demanding for detainees with underlying health conditions or any at the risk of the coronavirus to be moved or released for the time being. In an NYC defender’s statement, they had said they are “deeply concerned” as the spreading of the coronavirus continues. “ICE’s continued inaction made today’s confirmed COVID-19 case in ICE detention a virtual inevitability and further highlights the urgent need to release all individuals in ICE custody immediately. -For weeks, we have received many disturbing reports from our detained clients about the unsanitary conditions that are putting their lives at risk.” Advocates have been arguing about the dangers of the detention centers as well as detainees saying how unhealthy and how dirty and unsanitized the facilities are, giving a high risk to those in the stations, while the government has been criticizing the pace of how many illegal immigrants are being arrested and deported.

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