On Wednesday, an immigrant mother was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, prompting a heated demonstration and several protesters blocking U.S. Immigration Office enforcement vans. By Thursday, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who was granted leniency during Obama’s administration, was deported back to Mexico, leaving her two children to be raised by her husband. What unfolded later, was a manifestation of President Trump’s pledge to crack down on illegal immigration. It turns out; immigration raids were taking place between Thursday and Friday, stoking fears that the president’s approach to the matter will tear families apart.

Immigration officials have confirmed that homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina have been raided, netting hundreds of arrests. Traffic stops were also launched as part of the roundup. Immigration activists also claim to have documented an unusual intensity of Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids in Austin, Dallas, and Pflugerville, Texas; Compton, Pomona and Vista, California; Burlington and Charlotte, North Carolina, Alexandria and Annandale, Virginia, Wichita, Kansas; Plant City, Florida; and the Hudson Valley region of New York.

Fear and loathing

Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for Homeland Security, the agency which oversees ICE, states these actions were routine.

ICE prefers to say they are conducting targeted enforcement actions rather than call them raids. The “targets” are supposed to be immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who have criminal records. Another ICE rep said the agency the arrests did not constitute a sweep and all operations to remove criminal aliens from the streets were follow-ups to investigative leads in an effort to improve public safety.

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Various parts of Minnesota have seen an increase in detentions as well. One immigration lawyer who stops short of calling what she sees as raids, says ICE is amping things up, using new and previous tactics and causing fear.

Semantics and other distractions

While authorities are denying there are raids, sweeps, roundups or what-have-you taking place, nationwide panic among immigrant communities is growing as news of large-scale “enforcement actions begin to surface.

Meanwhile, videos like a group of people being detained by ICE agents in the parking lot of an Austin, Texas shopping center and teachers reporting that students are not showing up to class because of fear, are also surfacing. No one can argue that dangerous criminals should be taken off the streets, but criminals come in all shapes, sizes, colors and from all countries. Perhaps the real argument here is what is really being targeted? Watch the things being done.