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Undocumented immigrants in Rockford in fear of ICE raids

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — An operation aimed at deporting undocumented immigrants began taking place over the weekend, as agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided communities in several cities across the country.

Some 2,000 undocumented immigrants are expected to be rounded up in the operation.

With Rockford being in such close proximity to Chicago, Latino leaders here say many undocumented residents are living in fear.

“The Hispanic community, especially the undocumented immigrants in this community, are in fear and in many cases, because of the proposed raids,” said Armando Cardenas of the Immigrant Support and Advocacy Commission.

Cardenas works to support immigrants in the stateline area. He says some people are afraid to leave their homes.

“They don’t know when it actually started and when it’s going to end, so the individuals might not want to send their kids to school, or they might not go to work because they don’t know what to expect,” he said. “So, it’s a state of fear which is being created here, so it’s a problem.”

The Coalition of Latino Leaders is working to teach undocumented immigrants living in Rockford about their rights.

The biggest piece of advice they have is that residents always request to see a warrant signed by a judge.

“Someone who may not have legal status wants to make sure ICE has a judicial warrant to come to their door, or look for somebody in that house,” said Victoria De La Rosa, of the Coalition of Latino Leaders.

Cardenas added, “Don’t give any information out if they ask you. Try not to open the door if you don’t have to. Try not to give them any information that is illegal for them to ask. It’s just better not to provide any information.”

So far, no reports of any arrests have been made in Chicago, however, Gov. J.B. Pritzker did sign a bill banning local police from assisting federal immigration officials.

Pritzker’s bill also bans private immigration detention centers, making Illinois the first state in the country to do so.

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