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The raids, deportation and profiling begin in Trump America

Felicia Persaud | 2/16/2017, 11:01 a.m.

Feb. 9, 2017, a 36-year-old woman became the first known immigrant to be detained and deported by the Donald Trump administration.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, aka Lupita, 36, a Mexican national who had been living in the U.S. without legal status, and who had pleaded guilty in 2009 to using a forged Social Security document to get a job, was detained Wednesday, Feb. 8, after she went for a routine check-in with immigration officials in Phoenix, Ariz.

Within 24 hours, she was deported to her native Mexico, in what her lawyer claims is a direct result of the new U.S. president’s crackdown on illegal immigration, via his Jan. 26 executive order.

Her deportation came as U.S. immigration authorities raided homes in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina, arresting hundreds of undocumented immigrants with criminal records. It was the first large-scale enforcement action after the Trump order.

This action occurred as many were focused on the court ruling over the Trump travel ban. But the sudden ramped up effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has sent the level of fear in the immigrant community spiraling.

Irwine Clare, head of the Caribbean Immigrant Services, said he has been fielding several calls from Caribbean immigrants who are undocumented and fearful.

“People who are undocumented are very concerned,” he said this past week. “They are calling to ask if they should even travel within the country.”

Clare said his advice to many is to not take the risk, especially with police in many cities taking on the new role of immigration enforcers, stopping immigrants in what can be deemed as blatant racial profiling, and asking for identification.

Carol Horwitz, US-born citizen in Brooklyn, related last week by email how her El Salvadorian son-in-law went to Queens to see a friend who was visiting from Ecuador. While sitting and talking in a Queens public park, they were approached by three white cops who demanded ID.

The cops reportedly did not allow her son-in-law, a green card holder, to take out his ID, and instead went into his pockets and took it out themselves. The cops allegedly then called for backup and four more white cops showed up and continued to harass both immigrants before demanding that they leave the park and never come back.

Clare, for his part, said he is concerned that cops will use immigrant-focused events and gatherings, such as huge outdoor concerts in the summer, to set up road blocks to profile and target immigrants—both legal and undocumented.

Mexico is already warning its citizens to “take precautions.” In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the case of de Rayos illustrates “the new reality.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is also preparing immigrants for this “new reality.”

In a promotion titled “If ICE Shows Up at Your Door,” the ACLU gives the following advice:

Don’t open the door, because you have rights.

Ask what they are there for, and ask for an interpreter if you need one.

If they ask to enter, ask if they have a judge’s warrant and have them put it under the door or through the window. An ICE administrative warrant (form I-200 and form I-205) is not a judge’s warrant and does not allow them to enter your home without consent.

If they do not have a judge’s warrant, you can refuse to let them in. Ask them to leave the information at the door.

If they force their way in, do not resist. Tell everyone in the house to stay silent.

And if you are arrested, stay silent and do not sign anything until you speak to an attorney.

But all this leaves Horwitz asking, “Is this Nazi Germany or what?”

The writer is CMO at Hard Beat Communications, Inc., which owns the brands NewsAmericasNow, CaribPRWire and InvestCaribbeanNow.