The acceleration of arrests by the Trump administration among the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States is spreading panic throughout communities such as Elizabeth, where at least half of the population is foreign-born.
People are being picked up when they show up to criminal court or municipal court in New York City,” said Cullinane. “They are being picked up in front of their homes when they leave for work. When ICE has administrative warrants, not judicial warrants, they know they cannot go inside. They use subterfuge. They wear plain clothes and drive in unmarked cars and carry a picture of the person they want. ICE agents under Donald Trump can arrest people if they are only suspected of having engaged in criminal activity, no matter how minor. I have never seen this level of fear.”
“I am afraid to go outside,” Rosana says. “I go to work. I buy food. But, otherwise, I stay in the house. My husband is the same. He works as a night dispatcher for a taxi company in New York City. He sees ICE agents on the train. My children are terrified they will come home from school and one or both of us will not be here. This campaign is going to have huge economic and social consequences across the country. It will lead to the breakdown of the rule of law in many communities. No one will go to court. No one will go to the police. No one will buy anything. People are going underground. Parents won’t even show up for their children’s soccer games.”
Still, people are afraid to come to these meetings,” Antonio says. “They fear that la migrawill raid the meeting and take everyone. This is why a lot of people will not go to protests.”