President Trump (!) signed an executive order on Jan. 25 that vastly expanded the number of undocumented immigrants whose deportation is considered a priority for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. Under Obama, ICE prioritized “those who had been convicted of serious crimes, were considered national security threats or were recent arrivals,” in the New York Times’ words. The Trump order targets criminals but also—among others—those who’ve been accused of crimes but not convicted, those who have engaged in document fraud, and those who “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.” (See a detailed breakdown of the change in priorities at Vox here.)
Now, in the past two days, reports have begun to emerge of what seems to be a suddenly increased volume of crackdowns against undocumented immigrants across the country. From the Washington Post:
Immigration activists said Friday that they had documented ICE raids of unusual intensity in the last 48 hours in Vista, Pomona and Compton, Calif.; Austin, Dallas, and Pflugerville, Texas; Alexandria and Annandale, Va.; Charlotte and Burlington, N.C.; Plant City, Fla.; the Hudson Valley region of New York; and Wichita, Kan.
There were also reports of ICE checkpoints, targeting immigrants for random ID checks, in North Carolina and in Austin.
Both immigration activists and the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that some of the individuals who’ve been detained do not have criminal records.
Guadalupe García de Rayos, a mother of two who had been in the United States for 21 years and was deported from Phoenix in a high-profile incident on Wednesday, was not detained in a raid but rather after meeting with an ICE officer. (She had been allowed to stay in the country on the condition of regular ICE check-ins after being convicted of a crime in 2009 for using a fake Social Security number to get a job at a water park.)