As a result of ongoing round-ups of out of status immigrants in New York and across the country, Guyanese and other Caribbean undocumented (illegal) immigrants in the New York metro area are edgy and fearful of their continued stay in the US. If picked up, they are likely to be deported unless they show cause why they should stay in the US. They remain in custody until their hearings are concluded. The raids have swelled fears among all immigrant communities of deportation, and they are all warning each other to take precautionary measures to avoid immigration agents who are targeting immigrant communities. New York, like most cities in the US, has ethnic enclaves where people choose to live among their own group. Agents have not targeted White enclaves although there are many illegals from Europe, including Irish, Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, etc living in the US. Minority communities and minority owned businesses are targeted.
Because of these raids by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Guyanese and latinos and other immigrants are watching over their backs worried that they will be picked up and deported. Reports are circulating in immigrant communities of ICE or Homeland Security raids all over New York State. Teaching colleagues of other ethnic groups inform me that dozens of undocumented persons from their communities from Mexico and countries in South and Central America have been arrested. Guyanese have also been picked up. Indo Guyanese and Trinis, regardless of religion, are easily identified and targeted for raids with federal agents mistaking them for Middle Eastern Arabs who are being targeted because of the war on terror.
Several Guyanese were ensnared in the recent round up in Queens. The raids brought back memories of those in the 1970s when immigration agents raided tenement buildings, offices, and other work places checking on the status of employees.
This writer himself was once quizzed about his status on a street in Manhattan by immigration agents when he was a teenage student at City College. Agents are forbidden by law from randomly stopping people in the streets and asking them about their status.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to reassure New York City’s immigrants on Trump’s raids. He told reporters that New Yorkers should rest assured that city officials, including the NYPD, will never ask about immigration status, and the NYPD will never become immigration enforcement agents. New York is considered a sanctuary city meaning its agencies will not comply with federal requests to report illegal immigrants who commit minor crimes or turn over any illegal immigrant. Trump threatened that cities that do not assist federal agents will not receive federal aid. However, the federal government is supreme over the state’s and cities and can send agents anywhere to raid workplaces and homes for illegals. This is the root cause of the anxiety.