(FOX 9) - Nationwide, immigration raids targeting thousands of undocumented families are scheduled to begin this weekend.
Officials say ICE agents are targeting immigrants who have been ordered out but remain in the country illegally. The president's original plan was to deport millions of undocumented immigrants but attorneys tell us our system literally can't handle that goal. There aren't enough courts, ICE employees, or flights to make it happen -- but the undocumented should be concerned and know their rights.
“I anticipate many of the people picked up as a part of this will want to re-open their cases,” said Kara Lynum.
Multi-day raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement could start Sunday. In at least ten major cities authorities reportedly plan to target undocumented immigrants with deportation orders. Orders immigration attorney Kara Lynum says came in some cases against those assigned a court hearing they never knew about.
“There’s actually no way to update your address with immigration,” said Lynum.
“Many of my clients, that’s the point of this whole thing, is to have their day in court so it’s devastating to find out that you’ve missed it,” she adds.
ICE tells FOX 9 they prioritize the arrest and removal of unlawful immigrants who pose a:
- Pose a threat to national security
- Public safety
- Border security
They add 90 percent of those arrested last year either had at least one criminal conviction, criminal charge, were an ICE fugitive, or illegally re-entered the U.S. after prior removal but Lynum says ICE's definition of the term "criminal" is broad.
“That can include almost anything that can include a ticket,” she says. “That federal misdemeanor of entering without documentation so when they say criminal that doesn’t necessarily mean a hardened criminal.”
On the hill, there's no sign of a consensus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says, "These families are hardworking members of our communities and our country. This brutal action will terrorize children and tear families apart."
And House Republicans draw a hard line maintaining many undocumented immigrants have had a fair shake.
"You've been here years, you've gone through a court system, you've been found that you need to be -- that you have to be deported. You have to follow the rule of law," argued Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader.
If ICE comes knocking, there are rights the undocumented can exercise. They can ask to see a judicial warrant -- a warrant signed by a judge before opening the door. They also have the right to remain silent, and the right to speak to an attorney.