Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ICE Raids in New Jersey Being Rumored -- Truth Uncertain

There are some rumors of ICE (immigration and customs enforcement) raids in the past week in New Jersey, such as in Elizabeth, Kearney, Jersey City, Paterson, Passaic, Newark, Bound Brook, or Perth Amboy. It is important not to raise the alarm for unfounded rumors, because it is unclear whether ICE has conducted an unusually large number of raids or whether people are misinterpreting ordinary actions as something unusual. (It's possible ICE is doing the same number of raid pick-ups as usual.)

El Diario printed an article on this on April 26:

Regardless, it is always a good idea to remember that if any police officer of immigration official asks you about your immigration status, you can ask whether you are free to leave. If they say you are free to walk away, then you do not have to answer their questions and can walk away. This is probably a good piece of advice even for United States citizens -- if you don't have to say anything to a police officer or immigration official, why open your big mouth? If you slip up somehow in answering the questions, you could get into trouble when keeping quiet and walking away would have avoided the whole problem.

update: several journalists wrote stories suggesting that the rumors are untrue. In some instances, there was a good reason that people were worried -- ICE continues to do its usual number of raids and the town of Freehold apparently did a poorly-publicized emergency evacuation drill that scared many residents. So it is possible that the rumors of a dramatic increase in ICE raids is untrue.


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