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Connecticut immigrants, state officials bracing for threat of immigration raids

The Hartford Courant — The Hartford Courant

July 12--Connecticut officials and the state's immigrant community are bracing for the threat of nationwide immigration raids that could come as soon as Sunday.

News conferences and rallies were planned across the state Friday and Gov. Ned Lamont urged families fearful they may be separated from their children to take advantage of a state toolkit that helps prepare for that scenario.

"We want to ensure that parents know they have the ability to designate a standby guardian to prevent their children from being placed in state care in the event they become separated," Lamont said.

President Donald Trump had threatened the raids weeks ago, but anxiety has heightened since reports this week the raids were set to begin Sunday. The raids would target undocumented immigrants who have court orders to be removed, including families whose immigration cases were fast-tracked by judges in 10 major cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Miami, according to The Associated Press.

While no Connecticut cities have been listed as potential targets for the enforcement operation, their is still fear among the state's immigrant community.

"Regarding the raids, our message to the immigrant community is: don't panic, educate yourself and your loved ones on your rights," said Edna Ubaldo, a member of immigration group Make the Road Connecticut's Fight Back Committee. "The fact is that there NO information that any raids or additional targeting by ICE will be happening in Connecticut. However, ICE activity in our state is nothing new. Know that our community is powerful and together we can fight back and protect each other and in Connecticut we already have been doing just that."

The operation is similar to ones conducted regularly since 2003 that often produce hundreds of arrests. It is slightly unusual to target families, as opposed to immigrants with criminal histories, but it's not unprecedented. The Obama and Trump administrations have targeted families in previous operations.

But the latest effort has taken on a sharp political tone, with the state's Democratic elected officials ripping President Donald Trump for the stepped-up enforcement, saying it's more evidence of his animus toward immigrants.

"President Trump's plan to conduct deportation raids this weekend is cruel, it is heartless," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. "His goal is to inflict fear and division in our communities by tearing family members from one another. This ramped up family separation on American soil runs counter to our American values--that every person in America has rights and families belong together. He is betraying our nation's values to care for the most vulnerable by preying on them. We know the damage that family separation wreaked on families at the border, and we cannot let that happen again. I urge the president to reverse course."

DeLauro is leading a congressional group on a visit next week to a facility in south Florida housing migrant children that have been seperated from their families.

"From the moment he announced his candidacy, the president has pursued a policy of cruelty and has done everything he can to instill fear and chaos into our communities," said state Attorney General William Tong. "He has separated families, invaded our cities to round up immigrants, and tried to use the census to frighten immigrants and people of color. His campaign of fear is intended to weaken our communities and defeat the rule of law. The Attorney General's Office will keep fighting against these cruel and inhumane policies, to keep families together, and to ensure that every person is counted."

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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