BOSTON (CBS) – Immigrant advocates in the Boston area are on heightened alert this weekend with previously postponed ICE raids now expected to take place across the country on Sunday.
“The best weapon to provide the community with is knowledge,” said Damaris Velasquez of Agencia Alpha in Roxbury who was watching a training video put out by the ACLU Friday. “Arrests like these happen every day, and they happen out of nowhere. But remember we have rights,” said the video narrator.
At Agencia Alpha they want it to be a safe environment for undocumented immigrants, and Friday they received call after call with questions about what to do if ICE is at their doorstep. “Is it happening here, do we need to act, who do I talk to in case someone gets detained,” said Velasquez.
ICE raids are expected to take place in ten cities as the Trump administration targets 2,000 illegal immigrants with deportation orders. Boston is not on the list, but that hasn’t calmed the nerves.
“It’s a very specific group of people but the idea is to send a message to people coming for asylum that this is going to end badly, don’t even bother,” said Marion Davis of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.
At her Chelsea clothing store Amazonia Jeans, owner Fatima Ortiz says she’s seen the impact the talk of raids has had on her business. Fewer people are in her store and on the street. Fear, she says is keeping them inside. “I’d say 60% of my business goes down every time stuff like this happens,” said Ortiz.
Damaris Velasquez says her agency will be working with churches over the weekend trying to get out as much information as possible. “The administration has done a good job teaching us we can’t trust them,” she said.