Baltimore advocates fear increased enforcement of undocumented immigration

Yvonne Wenger and Alison Knezevich Contact Reporters

Advocates for immigrants say they are tracking reports of federal agents stopping and detaining undocumented immigrants in the Baltimore area amid an enforcement crackdown elsewhere in the country.

While the courts have halted Republican President Donald J. Trump‘s order to block visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a series of “targeted enforcement operations” last week in cities across the country, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

ICE officials say Maryland wasn’t part of those operations, but agents are working continually to apprehend foreign nationals eligible for deportation.

Elizabeth Alex, regional director of the immigrant advocacy group CASA of Baltimore, said immigrants — including those who are living in the country illegally — are “very afraid.” (Note: Feel free to email Elizabeth Alex at: ealex@wearecasa.org)

“They say, ‘I am scared every day when I go to work that I won’t be able to come back,'” she said. “‘If I was deported, I don’t know what I would do with my children.'”

Alex said CASA lawyers are researching allegations that undocumented immigrants were detained by federal officials after leaving area courthouses or after being stopped for minor traffic offenses.

Brad Botwin, director of the anti-illegal immigration group Help Save Maryland, accused CASA of spreading “panic in the illegal alien community” instead of “allowing ICE to do their job — detaining, arresting and deporting illegal aliens.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-immigration-enforcement-20170214-story.html

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