After immigration raids around the country rounded up nearly 700 people, sowing fear and uncertainty in immigrant communities, Latinx members of Congress said after a Thursday meeting with top immigration officials that they now believe all undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. “are at risk.”
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D–NM), the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was one of 10 Democrats allowed to attend a meeting with the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Other members, including Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D–IL), were barred from entering.
Grisham said she left the meeting with the sense that “all immigrant communities are at risk” under President Donald Trump’s strict immigration orders.
In a statement, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D–CA) said, “In effect, every undocumented person in America is now vulnerable to arrest and removal as a result of the president’s orders.”.
“These orders are creating fear and terror in our immigrant communities, and that is completely unacceptable,” Roybal-Allard said.
Although a spokeswoman for ICE emphasized to NBC News Latino that the law enforcement agency “does not conduct arrests indiscriminately” and makes arrests “on a case by case basis,” Rep. Linda Sanchez, a vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, said they were told “we can and should expect many more arrests and removals this year.”
Rep. Norma Torres, a Democrat from California who was one of the members asked to leave the meeting by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s staff, said her constituents are afraid and need answers now.
“I have constituents calling me, afraid of going to work, or sending their kids to school. I need to give them answers,” Torres said in an email to NBC.