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Jamaican among 41 arrested in USA 'targeted enforcement operations'

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ICE raids spark immigration fears, rumors in California and on social media

The Homeland Security Department said Monday that 680 people were arrested in roundups last week targeting immigrants living illegally in the United States.

City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said she expects more "dragnet raids" in NY and that they'll "destabilize communities and devastate families".

Federal agents stormed homes and workplaces in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and other cities.

Naomi Tsu, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said some of the immigrants arrested in Georgia and the Carolinas last week and since interviewed by attorneys at Irwin Detention Center in Georgia appeared to have been stopped randomly in their vehicles as they were driving to work or pulling out of a trailer park. Since last week, they say they have picked up 680 people who are in the country illegally.

The New York City mayor's office estimates there are 500,000 illegal immigrants in the city.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, said she was "outraged" at news of the recent raids and suggested that some people who were targeted had no violent or criminal history.

But their message was crowded out by President Trump, who took credit for the raids as making good on his tough-on-illegal-immigration campaign pledge.

The NYPD tells the Voice that four of those arrested were charged with "crossing against a steady red light" and given summonses, while a fifth person, Walter "Hawk" Newsome, a leader of Black Lives Matter - Greater New York, was charged with "obstructing governmental administration" and "resisting arrest".

According to ICE's numbers, it made 114,434 immigration arrests during 2016, President Barack Obama's final year in office.

Level one included threats to national security, border security and public safety, which include removable migrants who have been convicted of a felony. It is also said that the news of the raids rapidly spread among immigrants and activists, such that it generated extensive panic. Many local police departments, including the Los Angeles Police Department, have promised not to assist ICE with immigration detentions and deportations.

None of those arrested were put into deportation proceedings over a cracked tail light, officials say.

"Trump and his allies will do everything they can to divide Americans, invoke fear in vulnerable neighborhoods, and demonize an entire community of people", Casar wrote on Facebook.

By Sunday, immigrant communities were still struggling to understand the scope of the raids, keeping in mind Mr Trump's campaign promise to assemble a "deportation force".

In at least one case, it seems clear that Trump's order changed someone's fate. Both the Bush and Obama administrations conducted sweeping enforcement actions within immigrant communities.

"It's more than palpable". And several Charlotte businesses that serve immigrant customers say they're closing early because their staff and customers fear raids or check-points.

More than 600 people have already been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, prompting protests in major cities and the nation's capital.

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