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Know Your Rights: How Immigrant Rights Activists Are Preparing for Looming ICE Deportation Raids

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Immigrant communities across the country and their allies are preparing for nationwide raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement planned to begin Sunday that will target undocumented members of immigrant families in at least nine major cities. The cities where raids will take place are said to be Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. New Orleans had been on the list, but the city announced this weekend that ICE was temporarily postponing the raids due to Tropical Storm Barry.

We speak with a round-table of immigrants' rights activists: Adelina Nicholls, the executive director of Georgia Latino Alliance of Human Rights in Atlanta; Shannon Camacho, the Los Angeles County Raids Rapid Response Network coordinator for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights; and Natalia Aristizabal, co-director of organizing at Make the Road New York. Camacho says, "We tell our community members that no matter what ICE does, don't open the door."

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AMY GOODMAN: Immigrant communities across the country and their allies are preparing for nationwide raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, planned to begin Sunday, that will target undocumented members of immigrant families in at least nine major U.S. cities. Immigration officials told The New York Times the raids will last several days and target at least 2,000 people. They warned the operation could also result in so-called collateral deportations, meaning immigrants who happen to be at the scene of a raid could also be swept up, even if they were not originally targeted.

The cities where raids will take place are said to be Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. New Orleans had been on the list, but the city announced this weekend that ICE was temporarily postponing the raids due to Hurricane Barry.

On Wednesday, acting head of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, said the raids are absolutely going to happen, though he did not say at the time when they would take place. He added, quote, "There's approximately a million people in this country with removal orders," but that they weren't the targets of the upcoming ICE raids. Last week, Trump also repeated threats that raids are coming soon.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I don't call them raids. I say they came in illegally, and we're bringing them out legally. These are people where we have the papers. We've gone through the court system. They'll be starting fairly soon. But I don't call them raids. We're removing people that have come in -- all of these people over the years that have come in illegally, we are removing them and bringing them back to their country.

AMY GOODMAN: President Trump originally announced the raids last month but later postponed the move, saying he was giving lawmakers a chance to figure out a legislative solution to the, quote, "Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border." Both the Senate and the House passed a $4.6 billion border bill days later, despite a number of progressive lawmakers and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus vehemently opposing the bill. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the news of the raids.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Families belong together. Every person in America has rights. These families are hard-working members of our communities and our country. This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart.

AMY GOODMAN: As Sunday approaches, immigrant rights groups have been ramping up efforts to make sure affected communities know their rights and are prepared for possible raids. The ACLU is suing the Trump administration on behalf of immigration legal aid nonprofit organizations, arguing the raids violate the constitutional right of immigrants to a court hearing before deportation. And mayors across the country have also been standing up to ICE, in New York, in San Francisco, in Denver, in Chicago and elsewhere.

This all comes as President Trump has dropped his efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. But on Thursday he issued an executive order to gather information about people's citizenship status from federal agencies.

For more, we're hosting a round-table discussion with activists from different cities preparing for the raids. In Atlanta, Adelina Nicholls is the executive director of Georgia Latino Alliance of Human Rights. Shannon Camacho is the Los Angeles County Raids Rapid Response Network coordinator at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, or CHIRLA. She's joining us from L.A. And here in New York, Natalia Aristizabal, the co-director of organizing at Make the Road New York.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Shannon, let's begin with you. Talk about what you understand is going to happen in Los Angeles and how you're preparing for it.

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