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Nearly 50 ICE Arrests In Chicago Put Neighborhoods On Edge

By aaroncynic in News on Feb 14, 2017 4:47PM

Nearly 50 people were arrested in Chicago by the Immigrant and Customs Enforcement agency last week as part of a national roundup of undocumented immigrants by the agency.

“These operations targeted public safety threats, such as convicted criminal aliens and gang members, as well as individuals who have violated our nation’s immigration laws, including those who illegally re-entered the country after being removed and immigration fugitives ordered removed by federal immigration judges,” the agency said in a press release.

In total, more than 680 people were arrested around the country, including 235 in the Midwest, according to ABC7. The agency says 75 percent of the nationwide total were convicted of violent crimes, with the number being slightly lower—70 percent, in the Midwest.

ICE and other officials from agencies have denied they conduct raids, sweeps or targeted random immigrants and said that the roundups were “routine” and “with a specific focus on those who pose a threat to public safety.”

Immigrants and others affected by the roundups however, say differently. WGN reports a small group of demonstrators gathered at ICE headquarters in the Loop Monday to protest the arrest of undocumented immigrants.

“What we want to get out of this is that we want people to not have fear, to come out and protest because we know we can make a difference," Saul Arellano, whose mother was deported 10 years ago on a social security violation, told the network.

The roundups, along with the rhetoric coming from the current administration and its ban on refugees and other immigrants, as well as many high-profile stories of families being separated due to actions taken by ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, have put immigrant communities on edge.

A report from WTTW showed that several of Chicago’s neighborhoods populated heavily by immigrants have seen big downturns in normal business. The Little Village Chamber of Commerce said that its sales have slumped by 15 to 20 percent since December.

“It’s a very thriving corridor, and now we’re seeing vacancies, traffic counts lower than the past, business owners are reporting 15- to 20-percent declines in business sales, said chamber president Jaime Di Paulo. “Especially restaurants, people are not eating out. They’re probably staying home saving their money because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”