Wave of immigration raids target youth falsely branded as “criminals”
25 July 2017
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are engaging in a nationwide wave of raids this week to target and deport thousands of immigrant teens, mostly 16-17 years old, on the grounds that they are “suspected of gang activity.” The raids are also targeting undocumented mothers who have entered the US with their children.
According to an internal memo shared with Reuters, ICE raids began Sunday and will continue through Wednesday, targeting youth who entered the country unaccompanied by an adult.
The Trump administration’s labeling of these immigrant youth as “criminals” or “gang members” is an attempt to get the American public to swallow the horrific reality that the administration is deporting waves of young people who merit a grant of asylum. ICE claims that a person can be identified as a gang member if they meet two or more criteria, including having particular tattoos, frequenting an area with gang activity, or wearing gang apparel.
ICE will use police databases of lists of suspected gang members over the past few decades. Long known by public defenders and inmate advocacy networks as being wrought with errors and purposely false additions, many are subject to deportation simply because they live in poor and working class areas with high gang activity.
Hundreds of thousands of people throughout the US are unknowingly on these lists. The California or CalGang database alone includes the names of more than 150,000 suspected gang members and affiliates. An audit in 2016 found that 42 infants one year old or younger were entered into the database, and 28 of them were entered for “admitting to being gang members.”
Even an internal audit…