BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore is one of several cities nationwide targeted for raids by Immigration and Customs officials.
President Trump confirmed those raids were scheduled to start Sunday, but so far, there has not been any official word on ICE activity in the Baltimore area.
Several immigration advocates told WJZ however, the announcement has the community on edge.
Sunday also marked the First Annual Latin American Heritage Festival highlighting and celebrating Latin culture, food, music and dance.
“It is interesting what is happening today nationwide where there is raids and people getting arrested, we are coming out as a community and saying here we are.” said Angelo Solera, executive director Nuestros Raises Inc.
The group is devoted to educating and promoting Latino culture.
“When people talk about the Latino communities, it’s always about the same thing, illegal immigration and it’s much more than that.” Solera said.
Jesus Perez is one of the event organizers. He said that attendance is lower than expected because of the concern for an impending ICE raid.
“There’s been a lot of questions of people asking us how secure we were and we’re telling them that we’re in the public view and so far we’ve been having a peaceful event with people enjoying the event,” Perez said.
President Trump confirmed reports that ICE plans to arrest thousands of undocumented immigrants who have missed court dates or have been issued orders to leave the country.
But, the City of Baltimore has gone on record to refuse to cooperate with arrests.
“Our message is really clear, Baltimore is a welcoming city. And we want our police focused on crime and particularly violent crime. We do not want them working in collaboration with ICE to go after people who are here producing, who are working, contributing, raising families.” Zeke Cohen, Baltimore City Councilman.
Mayor Jack Young called President Trump’s initiative a policy against children, while the Baltimore Police Department maintains that it does not ask someone about their immigration status.
“Immigration is for federal enforcement and those authorities should do that, that’s not for local law enforcement. Our policy is built on that and we stand and make that commitment for our community,” said BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison.
Immigration advocates want people to be aware of their legal rights if approached by an ICE officer. They suggest getting in contact with Safe City Baltimore.
According to President Trump, the raids are scheduled to last several days.