For several days last week, rumors were rampant that a national effort to round-up and deport immigrants without legal papers would include Houston and Harris County persons. The rumors emanated from Washington, D.C. and said that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would carry out unannounced raids, detention, and deportation without a court’s due process.
Local leaders reacted with negative comments, vowing that they would not cooperate with such an undertaking, citing inhumane treatment of individuals, and questionable legal authority. Here are the statements by the County Judge and the Houston Mayor:
Judge Lina Hidalgo Statement:
The Trump administration announced that potential raids on undocumented families across the nation, including in Harris County, have been delayed. The Harris County Judge’s Office had been working with community and government leaders to seek answers so we were prepared to do right by our community, and did not ever receive notice from any governmental agency regarding the reported enforcement operation planned by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Nonetheless, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo expressed disappointment at the reported threats of raids, saying, “Creating a climate of fear puts lives at risk. Even the threat of raids are a shameful attempt to push some of our most vulnerable residents further into the shadows. Families belong together, and immigrants make our communities stronger. My office will not assist in any rumored raids and will continue to advocate for reforms at all levels of government.”
Individuals with questions or in need of legal advice are advised to call the Immigrant Rights Hotline: 1-833-HOU-IMMI (468-4664). Should a loved one be detained by ICE, leave a message with a name, phone number and point of contact. Messages will be returned.
“The city of Houston has not been directly notified by ICE of any plans to conduct mass raids targeting undocumented families. The unconfirmed reports have created a great deal of anxiety for some and it proves once again this country needs comprehensive immigration reform.