EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — Federal agents have arrested at least five individuals on immigration charges in the past two weeks in El Paso, sometimes in front of their families and children, immigrant advocates said today.
The detentions took place at various locations throughout the El Paso area: the Northeast, the East Side and the suburbs of Canutillo and Horizon City, said Fernando Garcia, executive director of the Border Network for Human Rights.
“The pattern has been the same in all cases. The agents come in unmarked cars, they wait for the individual — in these cases the male head of the household — to come out to go to work and then they detain them,” Garcia said. “As far as we know, none of these families targeted had a criminal record or anything beyond immigration-related (infractions), which are not criminal offenses.”
Garcia spoke at a news conference Monday initially called to outline upcoming protest actions against conditions at immigration detention centers and nationwide immigration raids announced last week by the White House.
“We have not seen massive raids, what we have seen is targeted” enforcement actions, he said. “They took the men in front of their houses, in front of their families and they are now in deportation procedures.”
Garcia spoke about the arrests to illustrate how immigration enforcement is separating mixed-status families and spreading fear throughout the immigrant community.
“They left behind mothers and their children. In one of the more dramatic cases we had a mom coming here, crying, with her children. She had been on a park, she was afraid to return home because the agents threatened to come back and arrest her and her children, even though her children are (U.S.) citizens,” he said.
ICE officials did not immediately respond to the Border Network’s request for comment.
President Trump first raised the prospect of widespread immigration raids two weeks ago. However, news about arrests have been few and often contradictory, with some news outlets reporting as few as 35 nationwide and with ICE and the White House tweeting contradictory figures.
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.