Press conference at Prescott Place Apartment complex, the first residence targeted by ICE raids on Sunday
Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen sent a letter to the acting director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Thomas Homan Friday expressing his concern and seeking more information about its recent raids in Shelby County.
The letter specifically addresses the targets of the arrests, which according to a release by ICE, were immigrants with criminal histories. But this has not been the case.
"As you know, ICE has limited resources, and it is vitally important that it prioritize the use of these resources in a manner designed to keep our communities safe," Cohen said in the letter.
The congressman then presents Homan with 5 questions:
-How ICE determined who it would target
in these raids?
-How ICE determined that these raids were the best way to use its limited resources
to keep our community safe?
-How many of the arrested individuals had committed
a criminal offense, other than an offense related to illegal entry?
-How many of the arrested individuals were suspected
of having committed a criminal offense, other than an offense related to illegal entry?
-How many of the arrested individuals had committed no
criminal offense, other than an offense related to illegal entry?
Latino Memphis Director Mauricio Calvo said at a press conference Friday that he has been seeking answers to similar questions.
He says he believes that the way ICE has been conducting its raids is unacceptable.
"Our city is not safer because they have taken people that are innocent," Calvo said. "We would like to challenge ICE to provide better communication. Who are they going after?"
Additionally, he says ICE has not been transparent about its arrests or the number of detainees. Calvo says their actions have been "unlawful," as he knows of at least 12 people who currently are detained and were arrested without a warrant.
President of the Mid-South Latino Chamber of Commerce Alex Matlock was also at the press conference, and she explained the adverse effects of ICE's actions on the local economy.
"The fear in the Latino community is creating a significantly negative impact on the local economy," Matlock said. "It is very well known that the spending powers of the Latino community plays an extremely important role in the local and national economy."
Latino Memphis will continue to knock on doors of their undocumented neighbors, says Calvo, informing them of their rights and what steps to take if an ICE agent approaches them.
Additionally, the organization plans to gather Friday evening Downtown to march
in solidarity with the families who have been affected by the recent raids.