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As Fears Surge, Here's What To Do If ICE Knocks On Your Door

By Stephen Gossett in News on Feb 13, 2017 6:35PM

Hundreds of people have been arrested in more than 10 states within the last week by immigration officials, and fears are ratcheting up. Immigrant advocacy organizations are working diligently to educate those who might be swept up by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as President Donald Trump has proclaimed a "crackdown on illegal immigrants."

Authorities have arrested more than 600 people in at least 11 states within the last week, the New York Times reports. Two hundred were arrested in the Midwest region, in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin. Chicago is reportedly among the cities in which home raids have increased.

Unsurprisingly, the raids have alarmed residents in Illinois and beyond, according Ed Yohnka, Director of Communications and Public Policy at ACLU of Illinois. "People don’t know whether or not to open their doors, whether to go to school, go to work, go to the doctor, or even go shopping for that matter," Yohnka told Chicagoist. "There's that sense of being caught up in being some sort of ICE activity."

Yohnka referenced accounts of authorities targeting low-priority undocumented immigrants (rather than serious criminals) and the mixed messages from ICE—who claim the raids are routine—and Trump—who heralded a clampdown. "Is this typical and normal? I don’t know who to believe," Yohnka said.

To help tutor undocumented people who could be singled out by ICE raids, the ACLU has issued a know-your-rights list, along with videos for what to do if immigration-enforcement officials come to your door. ICE officials must have a warrant, signed by a judge, in order to enter a residence, for example. "I just want people to be sure of their options if they or family members are taken," Yohnka added.