Obama pressured following election-week ICE raids in Florida

In a five-day operation from Nov. 3 through Nov. 7—the week of the Nov. 4 presidential elections—US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 96 “immigration fugitives” and 15 “immigration violators” in southern and central Florida. ICE made 43 arrests in Miami-Dade County, 23 in Broward County, 13 in Palm Beach County, 16 in Orlando and 16 in Tampa. (The raids, announced on Nov. 7, were all in areas where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain.)

Of the total 111 people arrested, 20 had criminal records. ICE released 42 people under supervision (presumably with electronic ankle monitors) as part of the Alternatives to Detention Program after verifying that they were sole caregivers or had medical concerns. The other 69 people remained in ICE custody as of Nov. 7. Those arrested were from countries including Brazil, Colombia, Haiti, Peru, Cuba, Honduras, Argentina, Dominica, Guyana, Venezuela, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Tunisia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, China, Jamaica, Romania, and El Salvador. (ICE news release, Nov. 7; Miami Herald, Nov. 8)

On Nov. 6, Florida activists urged President-Elect Obama to call a moratorium on ICE raids until Congress passes an immigration reform bill that includes a path to legalization. Obama’s office responded that “our position is well-known” and that Obama’s commitment “to immigration reform and all the important issues for Latinos in the US still stands.” (New California Media, Nov. 9)

From Immigration News Briefs, Nov. 16

See our last posts on the politics of immigration and the struggle in Florida.